UFC 248 Odds, Picks & Predictions: Best Bets for Israel Adesanya-Yoel Romero
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Adesanya of Nigeria (left) and Yoel Romero of Cuba face off during the UFC 248 weigh-in.
- Israel Adesanya (-280) and Yoel Romero are set to square off on Saturday night for UFC 248 in Las Vegas.
- Romero is one of the oldest remaining fighters in UFC, but also one of the most athletic. Is there any chance he pulls the upset on Saturday?
- See Sean Zerillo's full betting analysis below.
UFC 248 Betting Odds & Picks
- Odds: Israel Adesanya (-280) vs. Yoel Romero
- Time: Approx. 11:30 p.m. ET
- Venue: T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas, Nevada)
- Channel: ESPN+ PPV
UFC 248 originally scheduled a middleweight title bout between two undefeated fighters — Israel Adesanya (18-0) and Paulo Costa (13-0) — but after an injury to Costa will now feature Adesanya against a dangerous 42-year-old challenger, and likely the best UFC fighter to never hold a belt in Yoel Romero.
Romero lost to Costa (via unanimous decision) in their bout last August and comes into this championship fight having lost three of his past four matches.
However, two of those losses were close decisions (one split) against former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, and Yoel has scored a bevy of impressive finishes during his years in the Octagon – with lights out power from all of his limbs which gives the Cuban a chance in any fight.
Even into his forties, Romero remains one of the most athletic fighters ever to enter the octagon, and perhaps this is the night he will finally leave with his maiden title.
But Adesanya has extra-special qualities and looks to be a rare once-in-a-decade type of talent who unfortunately happens to co-exist in the same era as Jon Jones.
To the casual fan, the Nigerian’s meteoric rise has mainly gone overlooked – but what Adesanya has done inside of the octagon over the past two years (7-0; three by KO/TKO) is unprecedented – and dispatching a challenger of Romero’s quality would go a long way towards his becoming more of an established household name.
An exciting fight would certainly help exposure, and this could be a “Fight of the Year” candidate – with the two competitors having earned performance bonuses of some kind in 15 of their combined 19 (79%) UFC matchups.
But Adesanya is lined as a substantial favorite (-280, implied 73.7%), so how does this fight shape up from a betting perspective?
Tale of the Tape
Adesanya is four inches taller, owns a significant reach advantage, and is the younger man by more than 12 years.
Israel Adesanya’s Path to Victory
The measurables certainly favor the champion in this bout — he should be able to use his length to control the distance and force Romero to rush in, off-balance, to land big shots.
Adesanya’s strike-avoidance is often excellent, and coupled with his ability to fire off deadly counters from strange angles and quickly close distance, he has an edge if this fight turns into a kickboxing match.
He should also have an edge in the later rounds, expending less energy while repeatedly forcing Romero to step into the pocket, and while he will need to get through some extended flurries from the challenger, Adesanya has the superior fight IQ and should be able to maintain his level over five rounds.