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LAS VEGAS — Only four fighters in UFC history have held two championships concurrently. Conor McGregor was the first, when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez in 2016 to add the lightweight title to the featherweight belt he’d already owned.
He never successfully defended either belt.
Daniel Cormier was next, adding the heavyweight championship on July 7, 2018, when he knocked out Stipe Miocic. He defended the heavyweight title once before losing it back to Miocic.
Amanda Nunes followed Cormier by knocking out Cris “Cyborg” Justino on Dec. 29, 2018, to add the featherweight belt to her bantamweight title. She has defended each belt multiple times and will defend the featherweight title again on Saturday at Apex when she faces Megan Anderson at UFC 259.
Henry Cejudo was the most recent, winning the vacant bantamweight title on June 8, 2019, by stopping Marlon Moraes in Chicago.
On Saturday, in the main event of UFC 259, middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will look to join that prestigious list when he challenges light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in the main event.
Adesanya is the bigger star and at BetMGM, he’s better than a 2-1 favorite to come through and win a second belt. He’s -250 to win, while Blachowicz is +210 in his first defense after winning the vacant title by stopping Dominick Reyes.
Blachowicz isn’t a high-profile champion but he’s been on a roll recently. He’s won four in a row and eight of his last nine, with the only loss in that span a TKO at the hands of Thiago Santos in 2019.
He’s finished five of those eight fights, and is vastly improved from the fighter who was beaten by Patrick Cummins at UFC 210. He’s got big-time punching power, as Reyes, Corey Anderson and Luke Rockhold have discovered, and he’s a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
One of his wins in this run he’s on was over jiu-jitsu legend Jacare Souza in 2019.
In Adesanya, though, he’s facing someone the likes of whom he’s never fought. Rockhold was a tremendous athlete in his time, but he was on the back nine when he fought Blachowicz and that loss was his third in four fights. All were by KO.
Adesanya is a master of distance and has the kind of footwork that could tie Blachowicz in knots. He figures to win the fight as long as he doesn’t make a huge mistake.
He’s +105 to win by KO/TKO/DQ/Submission, and I’ll lay two units on him with the hope of making a $210 profit. I think Adesanya’s kicks will break down Blachowicz and open a spot for counter shots that will dictate the fight.
I’ll also take the +170 that the fight goes the distance, hoping to add another $100 to my bankroll.
In the co-main event, I believe that Nunes and Anderson are simply different classes of fighters. Anderson is a good fighter and Nunes is simply the best to ever do it.
Anderson hasn’t had what could be considered a signature win in the UFC and he was beaten by both Holly Holm and Felicia Spencer.
Nunes is a massive -1100 favorite, with Anderson at +700. Anderson knows this is her opportunity and figures to be at her best. She’ll be able to push the fight for a while, but Nunes will find a way to break her down.
I look for Nunes to end the fight by the midpoint. I’ll lay a half-unit on Nunes to win in the third round at +800, hoping for $400 profit. I’ll also lay -450 that the fight does not go the distance.
In the other title fight on the card, new bantamweight champion Petr Yan is -130 over Aljamain Sterling, who is +110.
I see this as a long fight with a lot of momentum shifts, but I believe Yan is a rare talent and will find a way to win. I will lay the -130 on Yan to win.
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