Israel Adesanya makes his fourth defense of the middleweight title Saturday when he faces former champion Robert Whittaker in the main event of UFC 271 in Houston. The rematch highlights the MMA showcase from the Toyota Center, with the main UFC 271 fight card set for 10 p.m. ET. Adesanya won the interim title in April 2019 and unified with a win against Whittaker in October of that year. He has remained an active champion who has vowed to take on all qualified challengers. Whittaker earned the rematch on the strength of three straight wins against top-five contenders and hasn’t lost since the first meeting with Adesanya.
Adesanya is a -270 favorite (risk $270 to win $100), while Whittaker is priced at +230 in the Adesanya vs. Whittaker odds from Caesars Sportsbook. In the co-main event, recent heavyweight title challenger Derrick Lewis is -200 in the UFC 271 odds as he takes on Tai Tuivasa (+175) in a battle of power punchers. Before locking in any UFC 271: Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 picks, make sure you check out the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine expert Andrew Gombas.
Gombas is a former NCAA wrestler who taps into his experience on the mat to dissect the X’s and O’s of MMA matchups in a manner that sets him apart from other MMA analysts. He started the MMA handicapping service MMA Knockout Bets in 2018 and has shown a profit every year since.
With more than 1,400 selections tracked by the third-party monitoring service Bet MMA, he has shown a 6 percent return on investment for his followers. Over the past two years, his followers have netted a profit of more than $10,000.
Just last month, Gombas kicked off the 2022 UFC season by advising SportsLine members to back underdog Calvin Kattar (+200) against Giga Chikadze (-240) in a matchup of featherweight contenders in the main event. Kattar dominated from the opening bell to win a lopsided unanimous decision and give Gombas’ followers an easy winner. Anyone who has followed him already has seen massive returns.
Now, with UFC 271: Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 in sight, Gombas has studied the card from every angle and released his top MMA picks and expert analysis. You can only see Gombas’ UFC 271 picks at SportsLine.
UFC 271: Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 preview
Adesanya (21-1) is now widely considered one of the greatest mixed martial artists in the world. He currently ranks third in the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings behind featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. It’s possible he could leapfrog one or both with another dominant performance.
Adesanya is known for his flamboyance and arrogance, but also his ability to back up those qualities in the cage. Thus far, the defining moment of his career was his destruction of Whittaker, who had been a dominant champion in his own right.
The 32-year-old New Zealander made his walkout a choreographed dance routine before dominating and knocking out the former champion in Whittaker’s hometown of Melbourne, Australia, at UFC 243. Whittaker didn’t seek an immediate rematch, which allowed Adesanya to pursue becoming a two-division champion. His lone defeat came against former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz by decision in March of last year, but Adesanya has never lost at middleweight.
Whittaker (23-5) is a 10-year UFC veteran who is still considered one of the most imposing figures in the sport. The 31-year-old has faced many of the sport’s biggest names and once had a nine-fight winning streak that saw him win the middleweight title and successfully defend it twice. That streak ended with the loss to Adesanya.
Even so, he has returned to top form in his past three fights and earned a performance bonus for his decision win over Kelvin Gastelum last April. You can only see who to back at UFC 271 at SportsLine.
UFC 271 predictions
We’ll share one of Gombas’ UFC 271 predictions here: He is going with Andrei Arlovski (-150) to get his hand raised against Jared Vanderaa (+130) in a matchup of heavyweight sluggers on the preliminary card.
Arlovski (32-20-2) is a former heavyweight champion who made his promotional debut at UFC 28 in November 2000. The 43-year-old Russian has remained a viable player in the division behind a boxing-based style and above average stamina for a heavyweight.
Vanderaa (12-6), 29, earned a roster spot by winning on “Dana White’s Contender Series” and has posted a 1-2 record with the promotion while slugging it out against fellow prospects.
“I think this is a favorable matchup for Arlovski because of the speed advantage. Vanderaa is big, but I think he will be out-landed,” Gombas told SportsLine.
How to make UFC 271 picks
Gombas also has strong picks for Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 and other fights on the UFC 271 card. He’s also backing a fighter who “is known for his highlight-reel knockouts” to earn another dominant victory. Those UFC 271 picks are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2? And what other picks do you need to see? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC 271, all from the insider who’s up more than $10,000 on MMA picks the past two years, and find out.
UFC 271 odds, fight card, top contenders
Israel Adesanya (-270) vs. Robert Whittaker (+230)
Derrick Lewis (-200) vs. Tai Tuivasa (+175)
Jared Cannonier (-170) vs. Derek Brunson (+150)
Ronnie Lawrence (-280) vs. Mana Martinez (+240)
Jeremiah Wells (-220) vs. Mike Mathetha (+190)
Maxim Grishin (-175) vs. William Knight (+155)
Andrei Arlovski (-150) vs. Jared Vanderaa (+130)
Bobby Green (-150) vs. Nasrat Haqparast (+130)
Alex Perez (-400) vs. Matt Schnell (+320)
Carlos Ulberg (-240) vs. Fabio Cherant (+200)
Casey O’Neill (-380) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (+310)
Renato Moicano (-170) vs. Alexander Hernandez (+150)
Kyler Phillips (-400) vs. Marcelo Rojo (+320)
AJ Dobson (-120) vs. Jacob Malkoun (+100)
Sergey Morozov (-210) vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade (+180)
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