A handful of the top middleweights and two heavyweight knockout artists make up the UFC 271 main card this Saturday night in Houston.
Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) takes on No. 1 contender Robert Whittaker (23-5 MMA, 14-3 UFC) in a highly-anticipated rematch in the main event.
The co-main event features the UFC’s newly-appointed knockout king and No. 3-ranked heavyweight Derrick Lewis (26-8 MMA, 17-6 UFC) against rising heavyweight prospect and something of a knockout artist himself, No. 11 Tai Tuivasa (13-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC).
But before the main and co-main events, two top-five middleweights face off for a potential next shot at the Adesanya/Whittaker title winner. No.3 Jared Cannonier (14-5 MMA, 7-5 UFC) will square off against No. 4 Derek Brunson (23-7 MMA, 14-5 UFC) in that likely title-eliminator.
It’s easy to find odds for UFC betting at Iowa sportsbooks. Place your bets, and then sit back and enjoy a Saturday night of fights.
How to watch UFC 271
- Where: Toyota Center in Houston
- Date: Saturday, Feb. 12
- Times: 5 p.m. early prelims (UFC Fight Pass), 7 p.m. prelims and 9 p.m. main card
- Viewing Info: Prelims on ESPN/ESPN+ (7-9 p.m.), main card on ESPN+ PPV (9 p.m. to midnight)
UFC 271: Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2
Middleweight champ Adesanya returns to try t0 defend his belt a second time against Whittaker and a fourth time overall.
The first time the two fighters met was at UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia, in October 2019. Adesanya knocked out Whittaker in the second round. Since then, both fighters have found their own success in the past few years.
Adesanya has defended his middleweight strap three times, against the likes of Marvin Vettori, Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero. He also attempted to gain double-champ status by fighting former light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. Adesanya lost that fight by decision and was handed his first career MMA loss.
Whittaker, on the other hand, has had a string of decision wins since his last title attempt. The Australian has victories over Kelvin Gastelum, Jared Cannonier and Darren Till in his past three fights.
Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 odds
The two fighters are looking to settle their rivalry, which Whittaker admitted got into his head the first time. This time around, Whittaker will be looking to use more of his ground game, which has helped him immensely in his past three wins. He should also be looking to disrupt Adesanya’s rhythm on the feet and be more cool, calm and collected in the striking than he was in 2019.
Adesanya will be looking to simply repeat the first fight. He is typically very comfortable on the feet and will be looking to establish the rhythm of the fight so he can predict and find an opening to put away Whittaker on the canvas once again. The Last Stylebender’s ground game has also come a long way as was seen in the recent fight against Vettori.
A win for Whittaker probably means running it right back with Adesanya in a trilogy bout, if possible. A win for Adesanya could lead to his next title fight being against the winner of Cannonier vs. Brunson.
UFC 271 main event: Tale of the tape
Marvin Vettori: W (Dec)
|Kelvin Gastelum: W (Dec)|
Jan Blachowicz: L (Dec)
|Jared Cannonier: W (Dec)|
Paulo Costa: W (TKO)
|Darren Till: W (Dec)|
Yoel Romero: W (Dec)
|Israel Adesanya: L (KO)|
Robert Whittaker: W (KO)
|Yoel Romero: W (Dec)|
Lewis vs. Tuivasa
Houston’s own Lewis will be looking to get back into the heavyweight title picture with a win over Tuivasa in front of his hometown crowd on Saturday night.
The UFC’s knockout king is coming off a win over Chris Daukaus in which he broke the record for most career knockouts in the organization (13). Prior to that, he suffered a stoppage loss to Ciryl Gane, who just lost to heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou last month. And Lewis has a victory over Ngannou. It all comes full circle in the heavyweight division.
Tuivasa has been riding a knockout-win wave of his own over the past two years and four fights. Since 2020, Bam Bam has shut off the lights of Stefan Struve, Augusto Sakai, Harry Hunsucker and Greg Hardy.
Tuivasa will be looking to continue his knockout streak against the knockout king so he can sit on top of the cage after the fight and do a shoey once again. (For those that don’t know, after the fighter’s past few wins, someone from the crowd has thrown a shoe and a beer for Tuivasa to do a shoey, in which he drinks the beer from the stranger’s shoe.)
UFC 271: Lewis vs. Tuivasa odds
As for the fight, expect these two heavyweights to stay standing. Both guys usually don’t look to go to the ground unless they’re forced to. For those tuning in, it may be best not to blink either. Tuivasa has a habit of coming out strong, aiming for that early knockout. Lewis typically starts out slow in the first round, establishing his pace and looking for the opening to get a finish in Round 2, but he may have to respond quickly if Tuivasa starts swinging.
A win for either guy puts them somewhere in title contention, but with Ngannou out due to surgery and a recovery that may last most of 2022, things are in question.
Also, will Jon Jones actually make his heavyweight debut this year? Who knows.
But an interim title fight between Jones and former heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic would make way more sense than the previous interim fight between Lewis and Gane with Ngannou out for a bit.
UFC 271 co-main event: Tale of the tape
Chris Daukaus: W (KO)
|Augusto Sakai: W (KO)|
Ciryl Gane: L (TKO)
|Greg Hardy: W (KO)|
Curtis Blaydes: W (KO)
|Harry Hunsucker: W (TKO)|
Alexey Oleynik: W (TKO)
|Stefan Struve: W (KO)|
Ilir Latifi: W (Dec)
|Sergey Spivak: L (Sub)|
Cannonier vs. Brunson
Adesanya vs. Whittaker is not the only exciting middleweight bout on Saturday night. Two top-fivers, Jared Cannonier and Derek Brunson, will go head-to-head with the winner hoping to get the next title shot.
Cannonier is 4-1 in his past five fights since cutting down to middleweight from the light-heavyweight division. The only loss during that stretch came to this weekend’s title challenger, Whittaker. Cannonier has notable wins of Kelvin Gastelum, Jack Hermansson and Anderson Silva during his time at middleweight so far.
Brunson is 5-0 in his last five, which has included taking on and dominating up-and-coming prospects in Kevin Holland and Edmen Shahbazyan. In his career so far, he also has wins over Lyoto Machida, Uriah Hall and Darren Till.
UFC 271: Cannonier vs. Brunson odds
This fight and its title implications are even more important to these two fighters given their ages. Brunson is 38 and Cannonier is 37, so this may be both of their last chances at a title run given the current state and depth of the division.
Brunson has been dominating his last few fights with his wrestling abilities (though some would point out he’s been winning since dying his hair blond). Cannonier, meanwhile, has been recently been in some well-rounded battles with Gastelum and Whittaker so he should be prepared to take it to the ground, as well.
Tale of the tape
Kelvin Gastelum: W (Dec)
|Darren Till: W (Sub)|
Robert Whittaker: L (Dec)
|Kevin Holland: W (Dec)|
Jack Hermansson: W (TKO)
|Edmen Shahbazyan: W (TKO)|
Anderson Silva: W (TKO)
|Ian Heinisch: W (Dec)|
David Branch: W (TKO)
|Elias Theodorou: W (Dec)|
UFC 271 betting odds
- Middleweight: Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker
- Heavyweight: Derrick Lewis vs. Tai Tuivasa
- Middleweight: Jared Cannonier vs. Derek Brunson
- Bantamweight: Kyler Phillips vs. Marcelo Rojo
- Lightweight: Bobby Green vs. Nasrat Haqparast
- Heavyweight: Andrei Arlovski vs. Jared Vanderaa
- Flyweight: Roxanne Modafferi vs. Casey O’Neill
- Flyweight: Alex Perez vs. Matt Schnell
- Light Heavyweight: William Knight vs. Maxim Grishin
- Bantamweight: Leomana Martinez vs. Ronnie Lawrence
- Lightweight: Alexander Hernandez vs. Renato Moicano
- Light Heavyweight: Carlos Ulberg vs. Fabio Cherant
- Middleweight: AJ Dobson vs. Jacob Malkoun
- Bantamweight: Douglas Silva de Andrade vs. Sergey Morozov
- Welterweight: Jeremiah Wells vs. Mike “Blood Diamond” Mathetha