UFC 248 Preview: Will Israel Adesanya Silence His Doubters? And Take Out Yoel Romero?
A few months ago, all signs pointed to Israel Adesanya fighting Paul Costa next, and not Yoel Romero. But, after Costa was sent to the sidelines with a bicep injury, the new middleweight champ drove hard for a showdown with Romero. The big reason being? Adesanya wants to prove to his detractors that he can defeat one of the most decorated and explosive wrestlers in the game. So, will Israel silence his doubters?
Adesanya gets his wish
Romero has been in the UFC’s title shot mix at 185 for several years now. But, in 2018 he failed to end the reign of Robert Whittaker for the second time, and lost via split decision. The former Olympic Silver Medalist wrestler was booked to fight Costa last August next. But, Romero lost to the undefeated fighter via decision, and as a result, there was next to no talk of him fighting Adesanya.
But, after Costa incurred his aforementioned injury, Adesanya made it clear he wanted to fight Romero next. “The Last Stylebender” called for a bout with the feared fighter, since Adesanya wants to prove to his doubters that he’s a well rounded mixed-martial-artist, and not just an awe-inspiring, kickboxer.
Well, eventually Adesanya got his wish, and he’ll face Romero at UFC 248, March 7th
But can Adesanya prove his detractors wrong?
If you look at the current betting odds, it looks like the consensus is that Adesanya will get by Romero, and retain the middleweight crown. This is despite the fact that Adesanya has yet to face a wrestler as decorated as Romero.
Adesanya did muzzle some doubts regarding his takedown defense in November, 2018, by quickly dispatching of Derek Brunson. But, while Bruson is an accomplished wrestler, his credentials don’t match those of Romero’s. Since then, Adesanya has faced Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum and Whittaker.
With Silva, no one expected the legendary, former champ to attempt taking Adesanya down. But, Gastelum did attempt to take Israel to the floor, nine times, and only succeeded once. Here again, though, Gastelum does not have the wrestling pedigree of Romero. Although Whittaker has worked on his wrestling extensively in recent years, he didn’t shoot in once on Adesanya, before being stopped by the new champ in round two.
So, while some might argue that Adesanya’s wrestling and ground game haven’t fully been vetted yet in the Octagon, there are certainly reasons to believe he can defeat Romero.
The champ’s striking and footwork is among the game’s best. So, if Adesanya remains composed, doesn’t overreach, uses lots of feints and varies his attacks, Romero’s takedowns could become telegraphed. If that happens, Adesanya’s speed and precision should rule the day. Especially in the later rounds when Romero’s cardio and corresponding explosiveness have been reduced. Although Romero has competed in two other, five round fights to date, and has scored finishes in round three, Adesanya should have the cardio advantage in the championship rounds.
If you’re interested in betting on the upcoming contest, look for more news at americancasinoguide.com
UFC 248 will be hosted by the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.