Let’s get ready to rumble! Three titles are on the line Saturday night in Las Vegas. Find out which champions have the edge at UFC 259 in this edition of the Showstopper.
Plus, we make our picks for two big college basketball games heading into March Matchups, as No. 17 Oklahoma State faces No. 6 West Virginia and No. 18 Texas Tech battles No. 3 Baylor.
Saturday, March 6 | TV: ESPN+ Pay-Per-View
Four champions headline this blockbuster event at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. While the undercard has some pretty intriguing fights, all eyes will be on the three title bouts, including a champion vs. champion showdown between Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Błachowicz and Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya. Let’s break down the action on the main card.
Bantamweight Champion Petr Yan (c) vs. Aljamain Sterling
In spite of Yan’s great striking ability and strong takedown defense rate, Sterling’s wrestling prowess will present a big challenge in Yan’s first title defense. This fight has the best chance for an upset out of the three championship bouts. It could also very well go the distance and be the show-stealer of the night. We like Sterling’s odds at landing the necessary takedowns to tilt a decision in his favor.
Women’s Featherweight Champion Amanda Nunes (c) vs. Megan Anderson
Anderson is a huge underdog here. She might have the height advantage and scary one-shot power, but it’ll be extremely tough to connect on the quicker Nunes. The Baddest Woman on the Planet is much too skilled and will look to repeatedly take her less nimble opponent down to the mat. Once it’s on the ground, Nunes should take full advantage in brutal fashion. This one spells T-K-O.
Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Błachowicz (c) vs. Israel Adesanya
Jan Blachowicz has the physical toughness and Polish power to hang in there with Israel Adesanya, but he doesn’t have the agility or footwork. The light heavyweight champ will also have a tough time matching Adesanya’s athleticism in the Octagon. There is danger in Adesanya moving up a weight class to take on this fight, but we expect The Last Stylebender to claim a second title and remain undefeated.
No. 17 Oklahoma State vs. No. 6 West Virginia
Saturday, March 6
Oklahoma State keeps racking up points, led by freshman sensation Cade Cunningham, who scored 25 with 9 rebounds the last time these two Big 12 squads met. The Mountaineers narrowly won that contest, 87-84, but it took a huge second half to swing the game. It’ll likely be another high-scoring affair in which the Cowboys have a real chance of pulling off the upset, especially after they recently beat ranked teams like Texas, Oklahoma (twice) and Texas Tech.
The overall seeding for March Matchups is still up for grabs, so we anticipate a back-and-forth showcase between Cunningham and West Virginia star guard Miles McBride to close out the season.
No. 18 Texas Tech vs. No. 3 Baylor
Sunday, March 7 | TV: ESPN
Baylor finally dropped a game last weekend, putting an end to their perfect record. After that loss to Kansas, however, the Bears rebounded in a big way with a thrilling OT victory against West Virginia. Baylor’s guard combo Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler continue to terrorize Big 12 rivals in the backcourt, including these Red Raiders, who they defeated 68-60 back in January. Since then, Texas Tech has also lost to ranked opponents like Oklahoma State, Kansas and West Virginia, with a mixed 9-7 record in conference play.
Texas Tech will need a big performance from Mac McClung in order to stay competitive, but it won’t be enough to topple Baylor in this final regular-season clash before tournament play tips off.