Israel Adesanya already has a history of backing up his words with actions. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that, after proclaiming a willingness to take on all challengers, he agreed to defend the UFC middleweight title against the dangerous Yoel Romero on Saturday night. Their bout headlines a 12-fight UFC 248 card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main UFC 248 fight card is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET.
The brazen Adesanya (18-0) won the title from Robert Whittaker in October and vowed to take on all qualified contenders. He gets one in the third-ranked Romero (13-4), who many observers believe to be the strongest fighter in the promotion. Adesanya is a -275 favorite (risk $275 to win $100), while Romero is a +235 underdog (risk $100 to win $235) in the latest Adesanya vs. Romero odds. In the co-main event, Weili Zhang (-180) defends her strawweight title against fourth-ranked Joanna Jedrzejczyk (+160). Before making your UFC 248 picks, make sure you hear what SportsLine MMA expert Kyle Marley has to say.
Marley won the first-ever "ToutMaster" UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and also appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and DFS shows. Over the past year, $100 bettors who have followed Marley's picks are up more than $18,000.
Just last week at UFC Fight Night 169, Marley told SportsLine members to expect a stoppage finish from Megan Anderson (-225) against Norma Dumont Viana (+185) in a women's featherweight clash on the main card. He reasoned that Anderson's advantages in length and size would be the difference, and was proven correct when her onslaught led to a first-round knockout. Anyone who has consistently followed Marley is way up.
Now, with UFC 248 fast approaching, Marley has carefully studied every matchup on the card, identified the best value in the UFC odds and released his MMA picks for every single fight. He's only sharing those selections here.
Adesanya vs. Romero fight preview
Marley knows Saturday's main event is an important one for the growing legacy of Adesanya, who has vowed as champion to take on all qualified and willing challengers.
The 30-year-old Adesanya spent the first six years of his career dominating the competition in mostly lesser-known international promotions. He made an impressive UFC debut with a second-round knockout of Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221 in February 2018.
Adesanya told anyone who would listen that bigger things would quickly come his way and he was unafraid to jostle potential opponents during interviews and on social media. His boldness attracted skeptics, but thus far the 30-year-old has backed up his words in the Octagon.
He faces a daunting opponent in the late-blooming Romero, who at age 42 is still one of the most feared fighters in the UFC. The Brazilian made his MMA debut in December 2009 and has had bouts of inactivity but still managed to emerge as a viable contender.
Romero is perhaps best known for his highlight-reel knockouts of former champs Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold, along with strong performances in a pair of close losses to Whittaker. He is noted for his dynamic power along with an innate ability to fight through substantial damage. You can see his Romero vs. Adesanya picks here.
Top UFC 248 expert predictions
We'll reveal one of Marley's UFC 248 predictions here: He is backing Mark Madsen (-220) to get a stoppage victory against Austin Hubbard (+180) in a featured lightweight bout on the preliminary UFC 248 card.
Madsen (9-0) is an accomplished wrestler who won a silver medal in Greco-Roman at the 2016 Summer Olympics. The 35-year-old Danish fighter won his UFC debut with a first-round stoppage of Danilo Belluardo in September.
Hubbard (11-3) has split his first two bouts with the promotion. The 28-year-old Denver resident earned a decision win over Kyle Prepolec in September.
"Madsen is an Olympic wrestler and has serious power for the lightweight division," Marley told SportsLine. "The takedowns will be there whenever Madsen wants them and he will finish this fight on the ground with a submission or knockout."
How to make Adesanya vs. Romero picks
Marley also has strong picks for Adesanya vs. Romero, Zhang vs. Jedrzejczyk and every other bout on the UFC 248 card. He's backing one "high-volume striker" to get an "impressive win." You can only get every pick for every fight on the UFC Las Vegas card at SportsLine.
Who wins Adesanya vs. Romero? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 248, all from the expert who's up more than $18,000 on MMA in the past year, and find out.
UFC 248 odds
Israel Adesanya (-275) vs. Yoel Romero (+235)
Weili Zhang (-180) vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (+160)
Beniel Dariush (-165) vs. Drakkar Klose (+145)
Li Jingliang (-165) vs. Neil Magny (+145)
Alex Oliveira (-145) vs. Max Griffin (+125)
Sean O'Malley (-380) vs Jose Quinonez (+315)
Mark Madsen (-220) vs. Austin Hubbard (+180)
Rodolfo Vieira (-800) vs. Saparbek Safarov (+550)
Deron Winn (-145) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+125)
Polyana Viana (-115) vs. Emily Whitmire (-105)
Jamall Emmers (-165) vs. Giga Chikadze (+145)
Danaa Batgerel (-135) vs. Guido Cannetti (+115)