Adesanya vs. Whittaker Moneyline Pick
You see the betting odds above, the best online sportsbooks have the current middleweight champion, Adesanya, as a comfortable betting favorite. As they should because the last time these two met — back at UFC 243 in late 2019 — it was largely a one-sided affair. That night, Adesanya became the undisputed champion with a second-round knockout of Whittaker. Before making our Adesanya-Whittaker moneyline pick, one has to ask: what’s changed in the two years since?
For Adesanya, he’s cemented himself as one of the UFC’s pound-for-pound best. Pre-Whittaker win, many felt “The Last Stylebender” was overhyped despite a flawless record. At the time, the top UFC betting sites pegged him as a slight underdog in the title fight — though, the odds were almost at pick ‘em. No such pretender talk exists now for Adesanya who’s remained unbeaten at middleweight (his only career loss was at light heavyweight, against Jan Blachowicz). And Izzy isn’t just winning either, he’s completely outclassing his middleweight foes.
Whittaker, to his credit, hasn’t lost since UFC 243. In fact, his only defeat in the last eight years was to Adesanya. But has he improved his striking enough to survive in the rematch? He has knocked down twice the first go-around (the knockout and also in the first round when he was saved by the bell). That’s the X-factor for Whittaker — or really, any opponent of Adesanya. Can they stand up and take strikes from one of the most precise punchers and kickers in the UFC?
If Whittaker is smart, he’ll also borrow the Blachowicz playbook to fight Adesanya. And that’s being patient — not head-hunting as Whittaker succumbed to in the initial meeting. Patiently wear down Izzy before going for the takedowns, which Whittaker is more than capable of with his wrestling background. Though, that’s easier said than done for Blachowicz, who had a 20-or-so-pound advantage over Izzy that night.
While we think the rematch will be much more competitive, we’re still taking Adesanya. His striking, size, and reach advantage is too much to contend with. Maybe he can be outwrestled by Whittaker but it’s not like the champ has terrible takedown defense. No, it’s pretty good and there’s a reason why he’s one of the most complete fighters in the UFC. Bet Adesanya to retain here!
Adesanya vs. Whittaker Over/Under Pick
|Over 4.5 Rounds||-140||-140|
|Under 4.5 Rounds||+110||+110|
Given the -260 moneyline for Adesanya, there’s not a whole lot of money to be made there. That is unless you think Whittaker is pulling the upset, then by all means place a large ML bet on the underdog. But if you’re like us and think Izzy is retaining the title, then you’ll want to make an Adesanya-Whittaker over/under pick instead. At 4.5 rounds, the bookies are clearly favoring a decision.
We would have to agree. From one angle, Whittaker would be dumb to re-use the aggressive game plan that got him knocked out the first time. It’s a recipe for disaster against Adesanya thanks to the champ’s massive reach advantage (which is seven inches against Whittaker). Conservative opponents like Marvin Vettori and Yoel Romero have fared better against Adesanya than Whittaker and Paulo Costa who went for knockouts before receiving one themselves. In other words, the path to victory for Whittaker is decision — not stoppage.
So long as Whittaker takes that slow and steady approach inside the octagon, we sense Adesanya should be able to counter it. The champ can feign with the best of them and if he needs points, he can always rely on his kicks to score with the judges. Our money says that’s what happens and the champ retains via decision.
But.. if there is a knockout, then it might be a late one. If Whittaker senses he’s down on the scorecard, desperation can happen and he’ll blitz, which naturally, leaves him more vulnerable for a big shot — which is dangerous against an elite striker like Adesanya. Prop bettors, it might be worth betting a fourth or fifth round KO in that scenario, but only a small amount because we think a decision is still the most probable outcome.
Derrick Lewis vs. Tai Tuivasa Betting Pick
Unlike the main event, the moneyline between Lewis and Tuivasa DOES have betting value. While Lewis, the more marquee fighter of the two, is favored, it’s not by a lopsided sum. Though it needs to be mentioned, UFC 271 takes place in Houston — the hometown of Lewis, so he should have a “partisan” crowd on hand.
This is a big step-up in competition for Tuivasa, whose most notable win on his 13-3 record might be Greg Hardy (yes, the ex-NFL player). What worries us about Tuivasa is his usual fighting approach — rush early and “go for the kill” even if that means eating punches. That works on some heavyweights, but we’re less confident it’ll do against Lewis. He’s one of the heaviest hitters in the division and Lewis only needs to land one “money” punch to stop Tuivasa, which is our prediction of what happens. Take the hometown boy in the semi-main event.
How To Bet UFC 271?
Our betting picks above covered only the main and semi-main events. Of course, there’s a full night of fight action starting with the prelims and up until the main card. For all things betting UFC 271, visit a betting site listed underneath. They have all the UFC odds, plus a litany of sportsbook bonuses to increase your bankroll in a hurry.