UFC 259 offers an extremely impressive card, highlighted by three different title fights that offer huge implications.
In addition to star power, the card is packed with emerging talents like Islam Makhachev. Ultimately, this show will be defined by championship gold. The main event features middleweight champion Israel Adesanya moving up the weight class to challenge light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, and two other title fights include Amanda Nunes, a main event talent in a dominant career, defending. his featherweight championship against Megan Anderson, too. like bantamweight champion Petr Yan in his first title defense, facing an incredibly talented opponent in Aljamain Sterling.
All of these matchups have the potential to be outstanding, and the ramifications of the results will be significant, specifically the main event. If Adesanya is victorious, will he defend both titles? Or then move up the weight class again to challenge Jon Jones, who could be heavyweight champion at that point? And despite his underdog status, if Blachowicz wins, which is a legitimate possibility, he immediately becomes the undisputed face of the light heavyweight division.
Here are the most pressing questions when entering UFC 259:
Can Blachowicz be the first fighter to stop Adesanya?
The main event is a light heavyweight championship fight that, on paper, should steal the show. This is an incredibly interesting fight, pitting reigning champion Jan Blachowicz against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
For Blachowicz (27-8) to retain his title, he will have to intimidate Adesanya (20-0) and show his power. Before entering the UFC, Adesanya struggled kickboxing against bigger and stronger opponents who were able to control the fight. If that plan can be executed, then this is an excellent setup for Blachowicz to pull off a shocking surprise, reminiscent of when he knocked out Luke Rockhold in the summer of 2019.
There will be a difference in size as Adesanya weighed 201.5 pounds, the third lightest in the history of UFC light heavyweight championship bouts. And Blachowicz is currently the best fighter in men’s MMA, which is another plus, so it will be revealing to see how Adesanya handles power and pressure. But 20 fights in his MMA career show Adesanya is undefeated for a reason, and he simply overpowered his last opponent, Paulo Costa, in September. If we see the same Adesanya who ran against Robert Whittaker or Yoel Romero, then the safe bet is that he will walk away from this fight as a double champion.
This could be either way, but someone is being knocked unconscious. To the surprise of many people, it may be Adesanya.
Will Nunes extend his reign of dominance?
Megan Anderson is a talented fighter and possesses knockout power. But that’s not reason enough to believe that he will dethrone featherweight champion Amanda Nunes.
One of the more outrageous stats coming into 259 is that Anderson (11-4) defeated Cat Zingano in December 2018, who is the last fighter to beat Nunes (20-4), back in September 2014. Anderson had A lot of anticipation when she entered the UFC, and she is still dangerous fighting with her front foot. But from what we’ve seen from her tenure in the UFC, there’s no reason to doubt the champion.
When Nunes is on, he is unstoppable. His combination of power and skill is too much to overcome, and Anderson will join a long and distinguished list of opponents to fall to one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time.
Are Yan and Sterling ready to have the fight of the night?
Petr Yan has been incredible in this current 10-game win streak, which has included winning the bantamweight championship. But if anyone in the division is going to beat Yan (15-1), it is Aljamain Sterling. An important factor in this fight is experience, as Sterling (19-3) has overcome so many uphill battles in fights. His pace and style also differ from Yan’s recent opponents, so he has the makings of a very interesting fight.
Yan is one of the best forwards in the world, so switching to wrestling can work in Sterling’s favor. But that’s another example of why this fight is so difficult to summon: Yan outscored Urijah Faber and José Aldo in his last two bouts. This will probably be the most competitive fight of the night.
Is Dominick Cruz fighting in the preliminaries?
UFC 259 marks the return of Dominick Cruz, who leads the preliminaries in a fight against Casey Kenney.
This is simulcast on ESPN and ESPN +, making it a great spot for Cruz (22-3). He has also lost two fights in a row, prior to that, he had never lost two fights in his entire career, so he desperately needs this win to remain relevant in the current bantamweight division.
Cruz seeks to show that he is still competing at an elite level at 35. We should see Cruz re-enter the win column against Kenney (16-2-1), but if he loses, this is Cruz’s end. in high-level fights.
Will a Santos win give him a title shot? And is Makhachev the real deal?
Thiago Santos vs. Aleksander Rakic is a light heavyweight fight with many implications. Santos (21-8) is coming off consecutive losses against Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira, but is still second in the standings. If he defeats Rakic (13-2) impressively, then he is back on track in his quest for the Light Heavyweight Championship, especially if Blachowicz retains, as Santos was the last fighter to beat him. Rakic has always been extremely entertaining to watch fight, so this is another reason why 259 is such a dynamic card.
And in terms of emerging fighters, this card also includes a lightweight fight that pits Makhachev against Drew Dober. Makhachev (18-1), who is ranked 14th, is the future of this division, he believes he is the future of the division, and a win here will help prove it. Dober (23-9, 1 NC) is fun to watch and put on a great show, but it has the potential to be a star performance for Makhachev.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.