Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:54 AM

UFC 248 - Adesanya vs. Romero Predictions, betting odds, preview and Best Bets from UFC Expert

UFC 248 - Adesanya vs. Romero
Vegas Betting Preview & Predictions

Date: Saturday, March 7, 2020
Venue: T-Mobile Arena
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

UFC Middleweight Championship Odds
Money-Line: Israel Adesanya -290 vs. Yoel Romero +245
Over-Under: 3.5 Rounds (Over -120)

Odds Subject to Change

Adesanya-Romero Analysis

The Octagon returns to T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas on Saturday for middleweight champion Israel Adesanya’s first title defense against Yoel Romero in the UFC 248 main event.

As of Friday morning, most books had ‘The Last Stylebender’ installed as a -280 favorite, leaving Romero as a +240 underdog. The total was 3.5 rounds (‘over’ -125, ‘under’ -105).

Adesanya (18-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) has taken the 185-pound division by storm since his debut win over Rob Wilkinson by second-round knockout at UFC 221 on Feb. 11 of 2018. He has collected four Performance of the Night bonuses and participated in two bouts that garnered Fight of the Night honors.


The 30-year-old kickboxer of Nigerian and New Zealand descent has won 14 of his 18 fights by knockout. After the win over Wilkinson, Adesanya captured a split-decision win over Marvin Vettori. Next, the City Kickboxing camp (in Auckland, New Zealand) product won a unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 50-45) over veteran banger Brad Taveres in The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale’s main event.

Adesanya announced himself as a legit contender for the middleweight belt by destroying veteran Derek Brunson with a first-round KO (knees and punches) at UFC 230 in New York City. Next, he battled the legendary Anderson Silva in a UD victory (30-27, 29-28, 30-27) that earned FOTN honors at UFC 234.

With then-champ Robert Whittaker out after abdominal surgery, Adesanya was booked to face Kelvin Gastelum for the interim middleweight championship at UFC 236. In a slugfest from the heavens, Adesanya edged Gastelum by UD (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) thanks to a big fifth round in which he nearly finished the durable Gastelum.

Adesanya-Gastelum earned FOTN honors and was also dubbed the 2019 Fight of the Year. Adesanya has always demonstrated his eye-popping skills, but he had to show his toughness and heart multiple times when Gastelum had him hurt badly. He passed those toughness tests with flying colors that night in Atlanta.

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Whittaker and Adesanya fought to unify the middleweight loop in the UFC 243 headliner in Melbourne, Australia. In front of the biggest crowd in UFC history, Adesanya became the undisputed champion with a second-round KO victory (punches).

After unseating Whittaker, the top contender was undefeated Paulo Costa, but the Brazilian needed to have surgery that was going to sideline him for 8-9 months. Adesanya, who has been extremely busy since joining the promotion, could’ve easily enjoyed some time off and basked in the limelight afforded him with his champion status.

Instead, Adesanya called out one of the scariest opponents on the entire roster in any division, Romero. The silver medalist winner for Cuba in freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, also won six gold medals at the Pan American games from 1998-2007.

Romero (13-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) transitioned to mixed martial arts in 2009 at the age of 31. The ‘Soldier of God’ rapidly ascended the middleweight rankings by winning his first eight UFC fights, including six knockout victories. His victims included Brunson (third-round KO in 2014 FOTN from Duluth, GA.), Tim Kennedy (another FOTN, although Romero’s win was extremely controversial), former light-heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida, Jacare Souza (split decision) and former middleweight champ Chris Weidman (second-round flying knee at UFC 205 at MSG in NYC).

With then-champ Michael Bisping sidelined with an injury, Romero was given an interim title shot vs. Whittaker at UFC 213 in Las Vegas. The fight went the distance with Whittaker eking out a UD win (48-47, 48-47, 48-47).

When Bisping lost his belt to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217, GSP decided to vacate the strap and go back into retirement. Therefore, Whittaker was promoted to the undisputed champ and was scheduled to face former champ, Luke Rockhold. However, Whittaker pulled out of the scrap less than a month out with an injury. Romero was then given another shot at the interim middleweight championship.

But Romero missed weight, leaving him ineligible to win the title. When he dusted Rockhold by third-round KO, he was granted a rematch with Whittaker.

Once again, however, Romero missed weight by merely 0.2 pounds, but the commission wouldn’t allow him to cut anymore. Whittaker and Romero engaged in another epic, five-round war, with Whittaker getting the nod by split decision. During his post-fight interview in the Octagon with Joe Rogan, Whittaker said about Romero, “That guy hits like a “F___ing truck!”

After taking more than a year off, Romero returned this past August to take on unbeaten Costa. Another slugfest ensued, with VegasInsider scoring the fight 29-28 for Romero. Eleven media members scored it 29-28 for Costa, according to MMADecisions. Ten had it 29-28 for Romero and one scored it 30-27 for Romero. The judges gave it to Costa by UD with three scores of 29-28.

Jason Floyd of The MMA Report told VegasInsider, “I don’t understand why Romero doesn’t use his wrestling more. If he doesn’t use it, he’s in trouble. I think Adesanya will use his length to keep him at distance and pieces him up from the outside.” During the UFC 248 Countdown show, the 42-year-old Romero stated that boxing legend Bernard Hopkins trained until he was 51. Then he said, “That’s my goal… to surpass him.”

That’s bad news for the rest of the UFC roster. His physique defies age. Romero is built like a truck. Rockhold said his fists feel like bricks.

Although he’s officially 1-3 in his last four fights, Romero could easily be 4-0 during that span.

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Adesanya-Romero Best Bet

This is undoubtedly Adesanya’s biggest challenge, and he might be biting off more than he can chew in this spot. The champ will enjoy decided advantages in height (six inches), reach (6.5 inches) and speed, but he can’t match Romero’s muscle. Romero is easily the best wrestler Adesanya has faced. Gastelum proved that a shorter man can get inside on Adesanya and effectively box with him. I’d like to see Romero get a takedown early and put Adesanya on his back in hopes of tiring him out, but that’s certainly not Romero’s only path to victory. In fact, I think he has more power in his hands than Adesanya, who certainly showed he can take punches and hold up versus Gastelum. Gastelum has heavy hands, but they aren’t bricks like the ones Romero has. I like Romero to pull the upset. Let’s go with one unit on the Cuban for a +240 payout.

UFC Women's Strawweight Championship Odds
Money-Line: Zhang Weili -220 vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk +180
Over-Under: 4.5 Rounds (Over -130)

Odds Subject to Change

Weili-Jedrzejczyk Analysis

This 12-fight card features a pair of championship scraps, as women’s strawweight queen Zhang ‘Magnum’ Weili (20-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) makes her first title defense against former 115-pound champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the co-main event.

As of Friday morning, most spots had Weili listed as a -185 ‘chalk’ with Jedrzejczyk at +160 odds on the comeback. The total was 4.5 rounds (‘over’ -150, ‘under’ +130).

Weili lost her first professional fight to Meng Bo by unanimous decision on Nov. 9 of 2013. Since then, the 30-year-old Chinese kickboxer has won 20 consecutive fights, including all four since joining the promotion.

Weili defeated Danielle Taylor by UD in her Octagon debut at UFC 227. Next, she submitted Jessica Aguilar with an armbar in the opening round of their bout at UFC Beijing on Nov. 24 of 2018. In a bout on the main card at UFC 235, Weili won a UD (30-27, 29-28, 30-27) over perennial contender Tecia Torres to earn a title shot.

Making her first title defense after winning the belt from ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas with a second-round KO (slam) at UFC 237, Jessica Andrade ventured into foreign territory to face Weili in the UFC Shenzhen (China) headliner. Weili needed only 42 seconds to destroy Andrade with kicks and knees to become the first UFC champion from China or anywhere in East Asia.

Most sportsbooks have champion Zhang Weili listed as a -220 favorite over Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Most sportsbooks have champion Zhang Weili listed as a -220 favorite over Joanna Jedrzejczyk. (AP)

Jedrzejczyk (16-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) ruled this division for more than 3.5 years from March of 2015 to November of 2017, successfully defending the belt five times. The 32-year-old Polish kickboxer won the belt with a second-round KO win over Carla Esparza at UFC 185.

Jedrzejczyk defeated Jessica Penne, Valerie Letourneau, Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Andrade during her reign atop the loop. However, after a difficult weight cut ahead of UFC 217, she was beaten by Namajunas via first-round KO at UFC 217.

In the rematch at UFC 223, Namajunas beat Jedrzejczyk again by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46). She bounced back to capture a UD win over Torres at UFC Calgary on July 28 of 2018.

Jedrzejczyk then decided to take on Valentina ‘The Bullet’ Shevchenko’ for the vacant belt in the newly formed women’s flyweight division, but Shevchenko won the title by UD (49-46, 49-46, 49-46). Moving back down to strawweight, Jedrzejczyk earned a UD triumph (50-45, 49-46, 50-45) over Michelle ‘The Karate Hottie’ Waterson to set up another title shot in this spot.

During her media scrums this week, Jedrzejczyk has gone to great lengths discussing how issues with her former manager and former fiancée have caused all sorts of problems in her life over the last two years. She declared herself free of those stresses now and explained how that would translate into her best performance in a long time Saturday night.

Floyd (@Jason_Floyd on Twitter and @themmareport) isn’t convinced. Floyd told VI, “You can make an argument that the division has passed her by. You can’t just blame every loss on your personal life. I think you can also make an argument that her skills haven’t developed further since moving to American Top Team. I’m picking Weili.” Jedrzejczyk and Weili both hit their marks at 115 pounds in the first 15 minutes of the weigh-ins. Jedrzejczyk has had some difficult cuts in the past, but she appeared to be in great spirits and looked fine. She clearly had a smooth weight cut that bodes well for her chances Saturday night.

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Weili-Jedrzejczyk Best Bet

Jedrzejczyk was a great champion for nearly four years. She remains one of the world’s premier female fighters, but I now believe she’s the third-best strawweight behind the current champ and Namajunas. With that said, I’m not willing to lay a price North of -130 on Weili, who has 17 career wins by finish (10 KOs, seven submissions). Instead, I’ll put one-half unit on ‘under’ 4.5 rounds for a +130 return.

UFC 248 - Bonus Picks

-- Mark Madsen is a -220 favorite in a lightweight scrap against Austin Hubbard. Madsen won a silver medal for Denmark in Greco-Roman Wrestling at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. In his Octagon debut, he needed only 72 seconds to dispose of Danilo Belluardo by first-round KO (punches). Madsen made his MMA debut in 2013 with a 44-second KO win (punches) and fought once more – winning by a guillotine-choke submission in Round 1 – in 2014 before starting to train for the 2016 Olympics. The 35-year-old Madsen returned to MMA in 2018 and has won seven more fights to improve to 9-0. Six of his nine wins have been first-round finishes, as he’s collected three submissions and three knockouts. Let’s go with two units on Madsen to win inside the distance for a +290 payout. If you like parlays in MMA betting, make sure to include Madsen in yours for UFC 248.

-- The Early Prelims are on ESPN+ and get started at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. The Prelims are on ESPN at 8:00 p.m. ET. The opener is a middleweight clash between Gerald Meerschaert and Deron Winn. Meerschaert has gone the distance in only five of his 41 professional fights. He has 21 career wins by submission. Winn is a -145 favorite at most books. He owns four first-round KO wins in his seven career bouts. Meerschaert has 7.5-inch advantages in both height and reach. I like ‘under’ 2.5 rounds for one unit and a +120 return. The thinking here is that Winn can win by KO when the fight is standing and that if they go to the ground, I think Meerschaert has a great chance of submitting Winn.

**B.E.’s Octagon Nuggets**

-- Floyd likes Meerschaert as a +125 underdog. He also likes Max Griffin to beat Alex Oliveira as a +120 ‘dog.

-- I like Matt Brown as a +175 underdog against Miguel Baeza at UFC Columbus on March 28.

-- New odds have been released in the last 48 hours for several upcoming fights. Jack Hermansson is a -150 favorite vs. Chris Weidman, who is moving back down to middleweight for this headlining scrap at UFC Oklahoma City on May 2. Weidman made his 205-pound debut at UFC Boston last year, losing to Dominick Reyes by first-round KO.

-- For a light-heavyweight clash that’ll serve as the UFC Lincoln main event on April 25, Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith is a -200 ‘chalk’ vs. Glover Teixeira (+160). Smith bounced back from a loss to Jon Jones by going on the road and beating Alexander Gustafsson by submission in Sweden last year.

-- Dustin Poirier is a -200 favorite in the UFC San Diego main event vs. Dan Hooker, who is a +160 underdog after beating Paul Felder by split decision in a five-round war last month. ‘The Diamond’ is returning for the first time since losing by third-round submission in a lightweight title fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov last year. Hooker-Poirier will go down on May 16.

-- UFC 250 odds:

  • Henry Cejudo -185 vs. Jose Aldo (+160)
  • Fabricio Werdum -190 vs. Aleksei Oleinik (+165)
  • Shogun Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio ‘Lil Nog’ Nogueira (+250)

-- Rua has already beaten Lil Nog twice. Werdum is coming back from a two-year USADA suspension to face ‘The Boa Constrictor’ in a battle of submission specialists. Cejudo is defending his bantamweight strap for the first time against Aldo, the former featherweight kingpin.

-- ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported earlier this week that Amanda Nunes will defend her featherweight title for the first time vs. Felicia Spencer at UFC 250 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Nunes won the featherweight belt with a first-round KO win over Cyborg last year. She went down and successfully defended her bantamweight strap against Germain de Randamie her last time out.

-- In a bantamweight showdown that’ll likely determine who gets a title shot vs. the Cejudo-Aldo winner, Petr Yan opened as a -205 favorite vs. Marlon Moraes. The Brazilian is a +165 underdog vs. Yan in this UFC Kazakhstan match on June 13.

-- After last week’s extremely controversial early stoppage that resulted in a first-round KO win for Magomed Ankalaev over Ion Cutelaba, a rematch has been booked for UFC 249. Cutelaba is appealing the result in hopes of getting it changed to a no-contest.

-- Former UFC heavyweight and light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier was honored this week for being the first UFC fighter to have 50 clean USADA tests.

-- According to a report from that’s been confirmed by MMA Junkie, there’s a verbal agreement in place for heavyweight contenders Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov to face each other in the UFC Saskatoon main event on June 20. Blaydes is looking for a fourth consecutive victory, while Volkov is off a UD win over Greg Hardy. Speaking of Hardy, he’s back in action as a -175 ‘chalk’ vs. Yorgan De Castro at UFC Columbus.

Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.

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