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Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero Odds and Betting Preview for UFC 248

| January 21, 2020 2:48 pm PDT
Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero UFC 248

Looking for the latest betting news on Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero’s middleweight title fight at UFC 248 on March 7?

As it stands, we are in the early stages of absorbing the shock since this one has been confirmed. It was always on the cards, but who expected Adesanya to throw himself in there with the Cuban monster so early?

This will be Adesanya’s first defense of the title that he won from Robert Whittaker in October 2019. And it will be nothing short of a war.

Our recommended UFC betting sites have already released odds for this scrap, and I think there is money to be made from them.

So, let’s take a provisional look at the middleweight clash of 2020 so far.

Latest Adesanya vs. Romero Odds

The odds below come courtesy of Bovada and are accurate at the time of writing.

Israel Adesanya to Win -235
Yoel Romero to Win +185

The bookmakers have Adesanya as the -235 favorite against Romero at +185.

Do the odds tell us everything we need to know? Or is there a lot more to this fight than meets the eye?

Keep reading, and I will explain.

Israel Adesanya’s Legacy

It is clear to anyone with an interest in the UFC that Adesanya could go down as an all-time great.

At this point, the UFC middleweight champion has a lot to do to get there.

But upon beating Robert Whittaker in style at UFC 243 in October, the Nigerian-born former kickboxing standout proved that he was no hype job. Whittaker is an elite-level mixed martial artist who looked out of his depth against Adesanya.

But the middleweight division is one of the most dangerous in the UFC. There is so much depth at 185 pounds, which makes the task of holding onto that title one that is not for the faint-hearted.

Adesanya is 7-0 since joining the UFC in February 2018. In that time, he has beaten Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum, an over-the-hill version of Anderson Silva, Derek Brunson, Brad Tavares, Marvin Vettori, and Rob Wilkinson.

You can’t take anything away from his resume. He has put together an excellent run in less than two years. But things are not going to get easier for a guy that has goals of going down as one of the greatest of all time.

Aside from the absolute beast that is Yoel Romero, Adesanya still has the likes of Whittaker, Paulo Costa, Jared Cannonier, Darren Till, Jack Hermansson, and many more knocking at his door.

Even if he beats Romero, that target on his back is only going to get bigger and brighter.

As we have seen with other champions of this division, that target isn’t always easy to live with.

Since Silva lost his title in 2013, Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping, and Whittaker have all tried and failed to create their own long-lasting legacies.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown, so Adesanya has a big job on his hands. But before he can join the pantheon of UFC greats, he must first beat one of the scariest guys on the roster in Romero.

If he is to beat the “Soldier of God,” where could his advantages be found?

Adesanya’s Incredible Striking

Israel Adesanya is one of the most creative and effective strikers in mixed martial arts today.

Despite being revered for his stylish, spectacular bag of tricks, there is a lot more to Adesanya’s skillset than show-stopping shots and technical exhibitionism. It is the feints and setups behind his shots that can often make the difference.

A superb kickboxer, “The Last Stylebender” is a master of defense. He has an excellent understanding of range, is always composed, and does not rush into strikes.

Preferring to draw counter opportunities out from his opponents, Adesanya’s fight IQ is a huge reason for his success in MMA thus far. His ability to adjust under pressure was clear for all to see in his UFC 236 bout against Gastelum and made the difference in what turned out to be a dogfight.

Although Adesanya prefers to do his work from the outside, he is tough enough to deal with a fighter that can occasionally get inside. Although there are question marks regarding how he would fare against a fighter like Romero, who is an expert in the clinch.

In order to keep his opponents where he wants them, the 30-year-old uses his lengthy reach to his advantage. More than this, he places a lot of emphasis on those feints and slight movements that can throw many fighters off.

As such an effective kicker, Adesanya just has to land on an opponent to let them know what could happen if they work their way into range too sloppily. Therefore, he tends to gain the upper hand by throwing feints with his hips that deters this.

Adesanya’s setups are also a joy to watch. His movement is incredible, anyway, but coupled with his ability to work his opponents into vulnerable positions, it opens up many opportunities.

When it comes to striking with the arms, Adesana prefers to use one-twos and three-four punch combinations. He rarely leaves himself open long enough for big counters, but rather leaves the impression that he is there for the taking.

That is a skill in itself. Think Floyd Mayweather’s slip back, right straight counter. If you have the speed, foresight, and reflexes to fight this way, it can be a mega effective style inside the Octagon.

Yoel Romero’s Superb Wrestling

One of the reasons why Adesanya vs. Romero is such a mouth-watering prospect is because Romero is seen as having a style that the Kiwi could potentially struggle with.

Now, Romero is regarded as a world-class mixed martial artist on account of his most overwhelming skill, which is elite wrestling. He is, in my opinion, the greatest wrestler currently competing in MMA today.

For those of you unfamiliar with Romero’s achievements in wrestling, here’s a brief snapshot of what he has accomplished.

  • Two-time Olympian with Cuba
  • One Olympic silver medal and one fourth-place finish
  • 2003Pan American Games champion
  • 1999 World Wrestling Championships champion
  • 5 x Pan American Championship gold medalist
  • 3 x Wrestling World Cup gold medalist

An incredible resume.

In MMA, Romero has been cutting the mustard for over eleven years.

He has an overall record of 13-4, with a UFC record of 9-3. His three losses in the UFC came at the hands of Robert Whittaker (twice) and Paulo Costa, with the second loss to Whittaker and his defeat to Costa very controversial.

Romero is set to turn 43 in April but is still very much at the top of his game. Despite never winning a title as a pro, he has consistently been one of the premier middleweights in the world.

Although he is known for his excellence when it comes to wrestling, he is an explosive striker that has ended 11 of his 14 wins by knockout.

But it is the ability to take even the best wrestlers MMA has to offer to the mat that makes him a scary prospect for Adesanya. There are question marks over the Kiwi’s takedown defense, and those questions will be answered when the cage door closes at UFC 248.

Who Has the Better Skillset?

It is not a copout for any mixed martial arts analyst to suggest that there is no superior style in this sport. If there was, every single MMA coach on the planet would be reading from the same hymn sheet.

But there is no doubt that there are particular skills and strengths that vary in importance.

Wrestling, for example, is the most important discipline in MMA. Period. Without the ability to defend takedowns or prevent an opponent from having their way with you, you are in deep trouble.

Traditionally, we have seen fighters with strong wrestling bases such as Georges St-Pierre, Matt Hughes, Daniel Cormier, Dan Henderson, and even Jon Jones win fights this way.

Of course, we have also gone through periods where blessed strikers like Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, Wanderlei Silva, Fedor Emelianenko, and Conor McGregor have torn through their opposition.

The contrast in styles between a gifted wrestler and a gifted striker has often given us the greatest fights in the history of this sport. Why? Because styles make fights.

This is why the prospect of Adesanya vs. Romero has so many fans drooling like a hungry dog at the prospect of a bite of your fresh, hot pizza.

Therefore, anyone betting on Adesanya vs. Romero — a fight that will see the very best of striking and wrestling combine — will have their work cut out trying to predict who takes the “W” home.

But other than watching two champion-level MMA fighters go to war with conflicting styles, there will be other things that could play a part in who wins the bout.

Who Wins – Adesanya or Romero?

One of the areas I would be very wary of if I was to bet on Romero beating Adesanya is the age of the Cuban.

When these two step into the cage, Romero will be just weeks shy of his 43rd birthday. Even for a guy that is built like a Roman god, Romero is still human and very susceptible to all of the signs of aging that us mere mortals are.

Despite looking more than ten years younger than he is at times, this guy is old enough to have fathered a sizeable number of fighters on the UFC roster. He is only seven years younger than UFC President Dana White and is double the age of Maycee Barber.

The decline of a fighter can happen almost overnight. We have seen this over the years, time and time again. It comes without warning — BANG — like an overhand right from Dan Henderson.

The worry for Romero is that age is going to hit him soon. Of course, we don’t know when it will happen; he could turn out to be even more of an exceptional human and remain the top for a few more years, but that seems unlikely.

Whatever happens in this fight, you would have to think that there is a chance things could go south. Against Adesanya, who is 30, Romero is giving up close to 13 years.

Does an age gap like this matter when betting on UFC 248’s headline event? Does it matter when betting on an MMA fight, in general?

The short answer is that it often can, but sometimes it doesn’t. We have seen Romero starch younger guys. We have seen the likes of Cowboy Cerrone and Randy Couture do the same.

Then again, we have seen older guys completely outclassed by younger fighters. Anderson Silva and B.J. Penn, to name but two.

I have placed a lot of emphasis on the age gap when trying to figure out if you should bet on Romero to beat Adesanya or vice versa. But, ultimately, this is just one thing to consider.

As we approach the fight, analysts will be looking at much more than just the age factor. They will naturally be concerned with what style stands the better chance of overcoming the other.

On one hand, you have Adesanya’s awesome, technical striking and Romero’s inimitable wrestling prowess.

But this is just scratching the surface.

In order to fully appreciate the all-encompassing dynamics that could play a part in this fight, you have to break things down in much more detail.

That is not going to be something that I will be doing today, as this is going to take a lot of work and analysis. Instead, I’m going to come back to you at a later date with a complete analysis of what could be the biggest fight of the year.

For now, I’ll just say that Adesanya, in my opinion, has slight advantages in the form of age and momentum. If these slight advantages are enough for you to put your money down on the champ, then so be it.

But if you want a clear and concise breakdown on who wins this fight, make sure to follow our blog. I will be coming back with that breakdown very soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Final Thoughts

So, it’s official. Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero will go hell for leather on the headline bout at UFC 248 on March 7.

And how much more excited could we be for that? If you aren’t stoked for this one, then get your pulse checked, you absolute greenhorn.

Of course, you could be uninterested in this one for a valid reason. If that is the case, please let me know, because I would be very interested to hear it.

For the rest of you that are biting your nails in anticipation, keep your eyes on our blog, as I will be hitting you with more Adesanya vs. Romero betting news, odds, and more over the coming weeks.

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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