Israel Adesanya says he believes it's his duty as a champion to face the most qualified and deserving challengers. He's doing so again by facing No. 2-ranked Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC 276 on Saturday. Adesanya's fifth title defense anchors the main UFC 276 fight card (10 p.m. ET) from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. When he first earned the belt, Adesanya vowed to take on the toughest competition as opposed to hand-picking favorable opponents as some champions are prone to do. His history suggests he has kept his word because his resume includes a pair of wins over former champion Robert Whittaker and No. 3-ranked Marvin Vettori. The power-punching Cannonier earned his opportunity by winning five of his last six.
Adesanya is a -380 favorite (risk $380 to win $100), while Cannonier comes back at +310 in the latest UFC 276: Adesanya vs. Cannonier odds from Caesars Sportsbook. In the co-main event, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (-190) takes on popular former titleholder Max Holloway (+170) in a trilogy fight. Before locking in any UFC 276 picks of your own, make sure you check out the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine expert Andrew Gombas.
Gombas is a former NCAA wrestler who taps into his experience on the mat to help understand and dissect the X's and O's of MMA matchups in a manner that sets him apart from other MMA analysts. He started the MMA handicapping service MMA Knockout Bets in 2018 and has shown a profit every year since.
With more than 1,400 selections tracked by the third-party monitoring service Bet MMA, he has shown a 6 percent return on investment for his followers. Over the past two years, his followers have netted a profit of more than $10,000.
Just three weeks ago at UFC 275, Gombas swept the board with his main-card picks and the five-fight sweep included telling SportsLine members to back Jake Matthews (+125) against Andre Fialho (-145) in a matchup of welterweight prospects. Matthews dominated from the outset and scored a second-round stoppage to provide Gombas' backers with another easy winner. Anyone who has followed Gombas already has seen massive returns.
Now, with UFC 276: Adesanya vs. Cannonier in sight, Gombas has studied the card from every angle and released his top MMA picks. You can only see Gombas' UFC 276 picks at SportsLine.
UFC 276: Adesanya vs. Cannonier preview
Adesanya (22-1) has emerged as one of the UFC's most popular and active champions, and was recently given a lucrative, multi-fight contract for his efforts. He remains undefeated at middleweight since joining the UFC in February 2018. The lone defeat on his record came last March in his quest to become a two-division champion when he dropped a decision to former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz.
Even so, the 32-year-old New Zealander appears to be peerless at middleweight at this point in his career and has vowed to take on all comers. Adesanya is known as one of the sport's most lethal strikers, but has been criticized in some quarters for his lack of aggression against certain opponents. Three of his past four wins have come by decision.
Adesanya will likely be forced into an action-packed affair against the rugged Cannonier (15-5), who is the latest in a series of title contenders to see a late-career surge lead to an opportunity to fight for the belt.
Cannonier, 38, is a seven-year UFC veteran who was once 3-4 in the promotion and considered little more than a journeyman. He previously fought at heavyweight and light heavyweight before a renewed dedication to training and fitness allowed him to find his groove at middleweight.
Cannonier has received performance bonuses in three of his past six fights while exhibiting a combination of speed and power that has made him one of the most feared competitors in the division. In February, he knocked out perennial contender Derek Brunson in the second round of their title-eliminator. You can only see who to back at UFC 276 at SportsLine.
UFC 276 fight card predictions
We'll share one of Gombas' UFC 276 predictions here: He is backing Brad Tavares (+100) to get the best of Dricus Du Plessis (-120) in a battle of middleweight prospects that many MMA observers believe could be a Fight of the Night candidate.
The No. 12-ranked Tavares (19-6) is a 10-year UFC veteran who has spent most of his time with the promotion inside the top 15 while consistently battling world-class competition. He lost a five-round decision to Adesanya on "The Ultimate Fighter" in June 2018 but has won six of his past eight appearances. The 34-year-old Hawaiian took a split decision against Omari Akhmedov last July.
Du Plessis (16-2) is a powerful prospect who told the media this week he believes a win over a ranked opponent such as Tavares will prove he belongs among the division's elite. The 28-year-old has won his first two UFC fights by knockout and stopped fellow prospect Trevin Giles in June of last year.
"Du Plessis has a herky-jerky striking style. He switches stances and throws lots of low kicks. I trust Tavares' cardio more. I also believe he has fought better competition. I'm picking him to win," Gombas told SportsLine. See who else to pick here.
How to make UFC 276 picks
Gombas also has strong picks for Adesanya vs. Cannonier and other fights on the UFC 276 card. He's also backing a fighter who will "mix in wrestling" to emerge with a dominant victory. Those UFC 276 picks are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Adesanya vs. Cannonier? And what other picks do you need to see? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC 276, all from the insider who's up more than $10,000 on MMA picks the past two years, and find out.
UFC 276 odds, fight card
See full UFC 276 picks, predictions, and best bets here.
Israel Adesanya (-380) vs. Jared Cannonier (+310)
Alexander Volkanovski (-190) vs. Max Holloway (+170)
Alex Pereira (-115) vs. Sean Strickland (-105)
Jim Miller (-215) vs. Donald Cerrone (+185)
Ian Garry (-155) vs. Gabriel Green (+135)
Sean O'Malley (-275) vs. Pedro Munhoz (+235)
Jessica-Rose Clark (-135) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (+115)
Dricus Du Plessis (-120) vs. Brad Tavares (+100)
Maycee Barber (-240) vs. Jessica Eye (+200)
Andre Muniz (-280) vs. Uriah Hall (+240)
Robbie Lawler (-125) vs. Bryan Barberena (+105)
Jalin Turner (-140) vs. Brad Riddell (+120)