Light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz has had plenty of praise this week for Israel Adesanya, the undefeated middleweight champion who is moving up a weight class to challenge for his crown. Their clash tops a UFC 259 card that features three championship fights, with the main bouts slated to start at 10 p.m. ET. Although the mild-mannered Blachowicz has been hesitant to criticize any part of Adesanya's skill set, he told the media this week that "everything is different" at the 205-pound light heavyweight division in comparison to Adesanya's familiar 185-pound middleweight division.
Adesanya is a -240 favorite (risk $240 to win $100), while Blachowicz is a +200 underdog in the latest UFC 259 odds for Blachowicz vs. Adesanya. In the co-main event, two-division champion Amanda Nunes (-1,200) defends her featherweight title against heavy-handed prospect Megan Anderson (+750). Before making any UFC 259 selections of your own, make sure you check out the predictions from SportsLine MMA insider Ian Parker.
A former fighter who's been in the industry for 15 years, Parker has managed some of the world's best, including former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman, Costas Philippou and Gian Villante. Parker trained alongside UFC Hall of Famer Matt Serra. Now, Parker breaks down fights and makes betting picks for the Voice of the UFC, Jon Anik.
Parker is coming off a mind-boggling 2020 season. On the Anik & Florian Podcast, Parker went an astounding 58-14, returning $9,465 to $100 bettors who followed him. He hit 11 of his 17 underdog picks and 19 of 30 main events. Overall, Parker nailed an astonishing 81 percent of his plays.
In his SportsLine debut last week, Parker went 3-1 on his selections that included winners on Cyril Gane (-265) against Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+225) in the heavyweight main event and Magomed Ankalaev (-350) faces Nikita Krylov (+290) in the light heavyweight co-main event. Anyone who has consistently followed him has seen massive returns.
Now, with UFC 259 in sight, Parker has carefully studied every matchup on the card, identified the best value in the UFC odds and released his top five selections for Saturday's card. A successful parlay would pay out odds of nearly 10-1, and he can help you make the best UFC picks possible.
Blachowicz vs. Adesanya preview
Parker knows the main event could be another flashpoint in the career of Adesanya, whose meteoric rise to stardom has reminded many MMA observers of the same whirlwind career trajectory of Conor McGregor.
However, there are some key differences. For one, there's little doubt Adesanya (20-0), a former professional kickboxer, has the superior overall skill set. Nicknamed "The Last Stylebender," the brash 31-year-old, like McGregor, isn't shy when it comes to self-promotion or trash talk, though he presents both with a more tangible sense of humor and self-awareness. Adesanya also has yet to experience the massive global popularity bestowed upon "The Notorious" Irishman, but that could soon be changing.
Similar to McGregor, Adesanya has already dispatched challengers who were considered legitimate threats to end his undefeated record. He was just a slight favorite over hulking Brazilian top-rated contender Paulo Costa, but dominated and stopped the challenger in the second round of their September fight.
He faces perhaps a more dangerous opponent in Blachowicz (27-8), who, for the time being, is likely among the least popular current UFC champions despite his own impressive and perhaps unlikely rise to championship status.
The 38-year-old Polish slugger once lost four of five fights in a stretch that had him fearing a call from UFC president Dana White to receive his walking papers. But he turned it around just in time behind his noted knockout power and underrated skill set to go on a tear in which he has won eight of nine.
His last fight ended with a stoppage of Dominick Reyes, the top-rated contender who memorably took former champion Jon Jones to the wire before losing a razor-thin decision. The victory gave Blachowicz the undisputed light heavyweight crown that was vacated by Jones. You can see who Parker is backing here.
UFC 259 predictions
We'll share one of Parker's UFC 259 predictions here: He is siding with Aljamain Sterling (-105) to defeat Petr Yan (-115) in the first of three title fights.
Yan (15-1) moved up the bantamweight ranks by displaying a varied skill set with lethal power that has led to four stoppages among his seven UFC victories. The 28-year-old Russian fighter won the vacant title in convincing fashion last July by unleashing a merciless beating on former champion Jose Aldo. The fight was finally stopped in the fifth round.
Yan's first title defense comes against the slick and athletic Sterling (19-3), whom many MMA observers have long believed is the most well-rounded fighter in the division. The 31-year-old New Yorker has reeled off five consecutive victories and earned the title shot with a stunning first-round submission of Cory Sandhagen, who is now the No. 2-ranked contender.
"If Sterling can avoid brawling with Yan and make this a wrestling-grappling fight, we might end up seeing a new champion in the division," Parker told SportsLine.
How to make UFC 259 picks
Parker also has strong picks for Blachowicz vs. Adesanya and four other battles on the UFC 259 card. He's also backing one fighter who is the "better striker" to "look for a takedown early." Those selections are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Blachowicz vs. Adesanya? And which other picks could lead to a 10-1 payout? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC 259, all from the ultimate insider who's up nearly $9,500 on MMA picks in the past year, and find out.
UFC 259 odds, fight card
Israel Adesanya (-240) vs. Jan Blachowicz (+200)
Amanda Nunes (-1,200) vs. Megan Anderson (+750)
Petr Yan (-115) vs. Aljamain Sterling (-105)
Islam Makhachev (-345) vs. Drew Dober (+285)
Aleksandar Rakic (-160) vs. Thiago Santos (+140)
Casey Kenney (-140) vs. Dominick Cruz (+120)
Song Yadong (-140) vs. Kyler Phillips (+120)
Askar Askarov (-130) vs. Joseph Benavidez (+110)
Kai Kara France (-140) vs. Rogerio Bontorin (+120)
Amanda Lemos (-200) vs. Livinha Souza (+175)
Jordan Espinosa (-125) vs. Tim Elliott (+105)
Carlos Ulberg (-220) vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu (+190)
Sean Brady (-200) vs. Jake Matthews (+175)
Uros Medic (-165) vs. Aalon Cruz (+145)
Mario Bautista (-220) vs. Trevin Jones (+190)