UFC 248 Preview
By Claudia Peterson
UFC 248 takes place this tonight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. With two intriguing title fights at the top of the card.
In the main event, the undefeated middleweight champion Israel Adesanya takes on number three ranked Yoel Romero.
Adesanya continues to impress fight after fight. Two years after making his UFC debut, he has delivered excellent performances and has impressive wins over Kelvin Gastelum, Anderson Silva and former middleweight champ Robert Whittaker.
The current middleweight king is a kickboxer with tremendous speed, and nobody has been able to keep up with him inside the octagon. He is vulnerable to being hit, but is able to take the shots and recover quickly. Adesanya also holds various performance awards in his UFC fights. Not only is the last stylebender a great fighter, but has charisma and a great swager, and has taken MMA fans by storm, He is often compared to Jon Bones Jones, someone he seems destined meet down the road.
Romero is a decorated Olympian, having earned numerous medals in freestyle wrestling at the Olympics and world championships. At 42, Romero seems ageless and his knockout power and exciting fighting style has earned him numerous performance awards in his UFC tenure.
However, Romero does not really utilize his wrestling anymore, probably due to a weaker gas tank. He relies mainly on his knockout power and fails to apply proper technique at times.
This might just be Romero’s last opportunity to win UFC gold, so look out for him to be right on point in Vegas, desperation could inspire to a level previously not seen.
In the same way, Adesanya will be extra careful out there as he himself was the one to call out Romero and wants to add a win over him to his overall legacy. May the better man win.
The co-main event is a title fight between new strawweight champion Zhang Weilli who takes on former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Both women are coming off very impressive wins. Weilli captured the title from Jessica Andrade back in August of 2019 in China. Weilli’s resume is impressive, having only lost her debut fight and boasting of 20 wins, most of them by early knockout.
Weilli’s list of opponents is not as impressive as Joanna’s, but has knockout and submission finishes, and very few decisions. One thing Weilli has yet to prove is a strong gas trak to take her five rounds. She also has very little experience with the limelight that is the UFC. She will have to stay very focused to not crumble under pressure and doubt herself.
The champion has proven to be a very strong strawweight, ragdolling most of her opponents. Joanna however, is a much different fighter than all the ones both she and Willi have faced.
In this division she is one of the largest and strongest fighters, and though opponents have been able to take her down, she is not easy to keep down. Weilli is the faster fighter and may be able to have the upper hand, but I do not think her striking can match Joanna’s.
In the lightweight division, Beneil Dariush takes on Drakkar Klose in a fight that was supposed to take place in July of 2019.
Dariush was injured and had to pull out of the fight, and now the two will meet on Saturday night. An excellent grappler and wrestler, he is on a three fight winning streak and has performance of the night awards in his last two fights. He is a UFC veteran, having debuted in the promotion back in 2014.
Dariush has some notable wins over James Vick, Jim Miller and Michael Johnson. Drakkar Klose signed with the UFC back in 2017 and has a 5-1 record in the promotion. He is a great wrestler, so expect this fight to be played on the feet and hopefully both fighters bring a good game plan since their preferred fighting method might not be something they will necessarily want to employ.
The main card also features two excellent welterweight matches that feature some well respected unranked fighters.
First, Alex Cowboy Oliveira takes on Max Griffin and Neil Magny takes on Li “the leech” Jingliang, the other Chinese fighter on Saturday’s fight card.
Oliveira is on a three fight losing streak and will be looking to stay relevant in his division, while Griffin has a scattered set of wins and losses, but seems like the more fresh fighter.
Neil Magny last fought in 2018 where he was knocked out by Santiago Ponzinibio in Argentina. For his part Jingliang is on a three fight winning streak and has two POTN awards in his last two fights, and seems like the fighter with the more momentum coming into this bout.
The preliminary card features the long awaited return of Sean O’Malley who takes on Jose Alberto Quinones at bantamweight in the featured pre-lim of the night.
Gerald Meerchaert takes on Deron Winn in the pre-lim opener. In the early prelims, straweight Emily Whitmire missed weight by 1.5 lbs over the allowed limit of 116lbs but will still fight Poliana Viana.