Arguably the most marketable star in the UFC today, Israel Adesanya will defend his middleweight title against Cuban veteran Yoel Romero in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Despite being active in the UFC for little over two years, Adesanya has blown through the division in record time, winning the belt from Robert Whittaker in just his sixth fight in the company.

Romero, on the other hand, approaches his 14th UFC bout on the back of two consecutive losses and will spring somewhat of a shock if he can knock-off the undefeated champion.

Cuban could cause a shock in Vegas

Tactically these two often approach their fights with a similar strategy. Feeling out their opponents in the opening couple of rounds, before making the necessary adjustments and picking up the pace in the latter stages of the fight. It will be interesting to see then if one of them will stray away from this and try to up the tempo early on.

Perhaps Romero, after losing to Whittaker in July and Paulo Costa in August, will look to set the tone of a title fight he arguably doesn’t really deserve. He has, however, knocked off some of the biggest names in the middleweight division during his illustrious career. The one thing he hasn’t done so far in his career is hold the belt, despite beating Luke Rockhold when he was champion, after failing to make weight.

If he does make weight this time, he’s got a legitimate chance of taking the title at 21/10. He can take a shot and keep walking forward, and if he hurts his opponent, he’s ruthless on the attack. He often looks like he’s not in control of his fights and then suddenly, they’re over in a flash. He’s a warrior, and Adesanya should be ready for battle.

Stylebender should have too much

It’s somewhat surprising that Adesanya isn’t one of the most well-known fighters in the world. The Nigerian-born New Zealander is so much fun to watch in the octagon, brilliant on the microphone and has an unblemished record in mixed martial arts. He’s the full package.

He’s also passed some significant tests in his six UFC bouts so far. He overcame a legend of the sport in Anderson Silva, coming through a brutal battle with Kelvin Gastelum, before beating Whittaker for the title. Whittaker seemed hampered by a knee injury, but Stylebender’s dominance of the fight was nonetheless extremely impressive.

Offensively, with the angles he can create and sheer variety of shots he can hit his opponent with, Adesanya should have too much for Romero at 4/11. He may, though, have to take a few big shots from his opponent if he wants to back him up and halt Romero’s offense. If he can execute his game plan, Adesanya should be able to pressure Romero enough to get the stoppage in round three at 17/2.

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