Three championship fights headline a monster card of MMA action coming from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Here are The Wolf’s picks for UFC 259.
You can read The Wolf’s preview of Adesanya vs Blachowicz here.
In a fight that was supposed to take place nearly 5 years ago, Islam Makhachev will look to continue his six-fight winning streak against Lightweight journeyman Drew Dober.
Childhood friend and training partner of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev has dominated the majority of his opponents in his UFC career to date, using a top heavy wrestling game to grind his rivals down and render their attack almost useless. That being said, he has shown more than able counter punching in the past, as witnessed in his first round KO of Gleison Tibau in 2018.
Since being tapped out by Beneil Dariush, Dober has come leaps and bounds in recent times and secured the win of his career when taking out prospect Alex Hernandez in the 2nd round in May of this year. His striking has improved immensely and he displayed excellent takedown defence against Hernandez, thwarting quite a few of his attempts.
Although on quite the win streak, Makhachev still hasn’t managed to crack the Top 10 in the division. This could be the fight that he does it in though. Dober is a tough and grizzled veteran of the sport who won’t stop coming forward but ultimately Makhachev’s superior grappling should see him neutralise Dober’s offence, well on his way to an Unanimous Decision victory.
The co-main event sees the Women’s GOAT defends her Featherweight championship against Australian born and bred Megan Anderson. Since losing to Cat Zingano back in 2014, Nunes has beaten basically every name that both the 135 and 145lb divisions have to offer, winning both championships to boot. She has shown a more measured approach in recent times, winning unanimous decisions against Felicia Spencer and Germaine de Randamie in her last two showings.
Former Invicta FC Champion Megan Anderson has had a somewhat chequered start to her UFC career, dropping two of her first three fights but making up for it with stoppage wins in her last two. Her lack of grappling skills was on fully display in her debut when multiple time boxing/kickboxing world champion Holly Holm took her down at will and controlled her as she pleased but Anderson looks to have improved her game of late, finishing Norma Dumont with a Triangle Choke in her last showing.
As patriotic as The Wolf is, he realises that Nunes should win this one comfortably. With that being said, Nunes hasn’t shown as much aggression of late and will have to deal with the size and reach of Anderson, who clocks in at 6 feet tall with a 72 inch reach. This alone could be enough to slow the fight down to a point where it may not be the most atheistically pleasing match up on the card, but with this and Anderson’s skills on the feet, she should be able to at least reach the opening bell in Round 3.
Undefeated inside the Octagon in 7 fights, Bantamweight Champion Petr Yan will face his toughest test in defending his title against “Funk Master” Aljamain Sterling. Yan has gone on a tear through the 135lb division, taking out five veterans of the UFC in quick succession. He captured the vacant championship by dismantling former champ Jose Aldo in July of 2020, beating him to the punch on multiple occasions and stopping the fight half way through the final round.
Aljamain Sterling has long been hyped as a champion prospect by the Serra-Longo Fight team since he arrived in 2014. He has fought the “who’s who” of the 135lb division and is currently riding a five fight winning streak, most recently choking out another contender, Cory Sandhagen in less than 90 seconds.
This will undoubtedly be the toughest fight of each fighter’s career and the betting suggests similar. The ultra-aggressive Yan will look to impose his will upon his opponent with pinpoint strikes and pressure but he will have to watch out for the grappling skills of Sterling, who to this day is one of only two UFC fighters to hit the fabled “Suloev Stretch” submission in the Octagon.
This should be an extremely entertaining fight from start to finish but The Wolf is siding with the champ to pour the pressure on from the start and eventually pound Sterling out.
Makhachev by Points, Nunes/Anderson to Start Round 3 and Yan to win ($8.69)
MORE UFC TIPS
|Amanda Nunes vs Megan Anderson||Fight to Start Round 3 – Yes ($2.50)|
|Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling||Yan by KO/TKO ($3.75)|
|Islam Makhachev vs Drew Dober||Makhachev by Points ($1.83)|
|Thiago Santos vs Aleksander Rakic||Santos by KO/TKO ($3.10)|
|Dominick Cruz vs Casey Kenney||Cruz to win ($2.10)|
|Kyler Phillps vs Song Yadong||Yadong by KO/TKO ($3.75)|
|Joseph Benavidez vs Askar Askarov||Benavidez to win ($2.10)|
|Kai Kara-France vs Rogerio Bontorin||Kara-France by Points ($2.25)|
|Tim Elliott vs Jordan Espinosa||Elliot by Submission ($6.00)|
|Carlos Ulberg vs Kennedy Nzechukwu||Ulberg by KO/TKO ($2.25)|
|Sean Brady vs Jake Matthews||Brady by Points ($2.37)|
|Uros Medic vs Aalon Cruz||Cruz to win ($2.39)|
|Trevin Jones vs Mario Bautista||Bautista by KO/TKO ($5.00)|