Date :Saturday,March 7
Time : 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT)
Venue :T-Mobile Arena | Las Vegas, Nevada
TV Coverage : Pay Per View – Prelims: ESPN
The last time T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas hosted a major fight, it was an epic Tyson Fury knockout of champion Deontay Wilder in a boxing ring. This Saturday it will be an Octagon in the arena for UFC 248, which is highlighted by a middleweight bout between unbeaten champion Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero. The main card overall starts at 10pm ET on pay-per-view.
The 30-year-old Adesanya (18-0), from Nigeria, didn’t get his first title fight despite a gaudy record until UFC 236 in April 2019 when he beat Kelvin Gastelum by unanimous decision for the interim middleweight crown. Adesanya next fought then-champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 and knocked him out in the second round so this is technically Adesanya’s first title defense.
Don’t expect Adesanya to win on the ground as he has zero submission victories, while 14 of his 18 are by knockout or TKO. Adesanya is 7-0 since joining the UFC and his first fight in the organization was on the undercard of Romero vs. Luke Rockhold at UFC 221.
Romero, a former member of the Cuban Olympic wrestling team who now calls Miami home, is ranked third in the division behind Whittaker and Paulo Costa. The 42-year-old “Soldier of God” has lost three of his past four outings – two of them against Whittaker. Romero comes off a unanimous decision defeat to Costa at UFC 241. Even though Romero is a former wrestler, he has never won a fight by submission, either; 11 of his victories are by KO/TKO.
Costa was originally expected to fight Adesanya, but Costa had surgery in October on an injured biceps so that ruled him out. Costa sat cageside during Adesanya’s victory over Whittaker. Almost surely Adesanya-Costa will be next assuming the champion wins Saturday. He is -285 with Romero at +225.
There’s a women’s strawweight title fight on the card as well as China’s Weili Zhang (20-1) defends her title against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-3) of Poland. Zhang is ranked as the No. 3 pound-for-pound female in the UFC and Jedrzejczyk fifth.
Zhang, who lost her first pro fight in 2013 and not since, won the belt with a stunning first-round TKO of Jessica Andrade last August. Jedrzejczyk held the strawweight belt until losing to Rose Namajunas in November 2017. Jedrzejczyk does own a win over Andrade as well, beating her by unanimous decision at UFC 211. Zhang is -150 for this bout and Jedrzejczyk +120.
- Israel Adesanya (c) vs. Yoel Romero
- Weili Zhang (c) vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
- Beneil Dariush vs. Drakkar Klose
- Neil Magny vs. Li Jingliang
- Alex Oliveira vs. Max Griffin
- Sean O’Malley vs. Jose Quinones
- Mark Madsen vs. Austin Hubbard
- Rodolfo Vieira vs. Saparbek Safarov
- Gerald Meerschaert vs. Deron Winn
- Emily Whitmire vs. Polyana Viana
- Douglas Silva de Andrade vs. Movsar Evolev
- Danaa Batgerel vs. Guido Cannetti