UFC 248 Preview: Can Yoel Romero Upset Israel Adesanya? And Finally Win UFC Gold?
Yoel Romero has come up short, twice before, in his bid to secure a UFC title, and in order to do so next, he’ll need to hand Israel Adesanya his first, MMA defeat. Can the powerful fighter pull off the upset at the March 7th, UFC 248 card? And add a UFC belt to his already, jammed packed, trophy case?
Romero’s path to UFC 248
The decorated wrestler has been booked to challenge the middleweight champ Adesanya under pretty unique and different circumstances. Romero is coming off back-to-back losses to now former champ, Robert Whittaker, and most recently Paulo Costa.
After Costa handed Romero a decision loss last August, the Brazilian fighter was expected to face Adesanya next. Costa incurred a bicep injury, however, and Adesanya called for a fight with Romero. The vaunted kickboxer said he wanted to face Romero next and prove his doubters wrong, who believe the latter’s power and wrestling game will pose a serious threat to Adesanya.
At first, the UFC didn’t seem interested in handing Romero a title shot considering the situation. But, eventually the promotion granted Adesanya his wish.
Can Romero pull off the upset?
Although many fans and pundits believe that Romero’s athleticism and takedowns will pose a big time challenge to Adesanya, the champ is the betting lines favorite to win the contest. Adesanya has established himself as one of the most dangerous strikers in all of MMA, which isn’t a surprise, considering he went 75-5 in pro-kickboxing. Further, Adesanya has defeated several top-tier fighters during his UFC run, including Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum, and the legendary Anderson Silva. “The Last Stylebender” also needed less than one round to put away Derek Brunson, who is an experienced wrestler in his own right.
Although Romero is 42 years old and may not be the force he once was, there’s been no indication that he’s lost too much of his feared power or explosiveness. If the former Olympic Silver Medalist wrestler paces himself early on, and doesn’t get reckless in his attacks, there’s no question Romero has the tools to beat Adesanya. Whether it’s by catching the champ with a big shot or by scoring some takedowns and going to work from the top.
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