The first meeting between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker took place at UFC 243 in October 2019. Adesanya was the interim middleweight champion, but he unified the belts in emphatic fashion with a second-round knockout of Whittaker. The two will meet in the octagon at UFC 271 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Saturday night. Elsewhere in our UFC 271 odds preview, we’ll look at heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuisava, as well as middleweights Jared Cannonier and Derek Brunson.

If you’re wondering how to watch UFC 271, the early prelims start at 6:00 PM ET on UFC Fight Pass, followed by the prelims at 8:00 PM ET and ESPN or ESPN+. The main card kicks off on ESPN+ or pay-per-view at 10:00 PM ET.

All UFC betting odds courtesy of the Bovada sports betting book.

Israel Adesanya (-280) vs. Robert Whittaker (+215) – Middleweight Championship Bout

Israel Adesanya taunts his opponent

Adesanya (21-1) was the UFC betting underdog coming into his first fight with Whittaker (23-5, who hadn’t lost in nine fights before running into “The Last Stylebender”. Adesanya dominated this fight from beginning to end, knocking Whittaker down in the first round and finishing it 3:33 into the second round. He has ruled the 185-pound class ever since, although Adesanya bit off more than he could chew against then-light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, who used his size and wrestling to hand Adesanya his first pro loss at UFC 259 in March 2021. Adesanya then defeated Marvin Vettori at UFC 263 in his return to middleweight.

Whitaker has won three straight since losing the belt, all via unanimous decision. However, he hasn’t looked the same as he did during his championship run. Whittaker’s striking carried him in a win over Kelvin Gastelum in his last performance, but he is also a strong wrestler with solid grappling. However, Adesanya is probably still the best striker at 185 pounds, and outside of the much-bigger Blachowicz, he has excellent takedown defense. That’s why he’s the UFC betting favorite for this match and it might be by more on Fight Night.

Derrick Lewis (-186) vs. Tai Tuivasa (+151) – Heavyweight

DErrick Lewis waits for his fight to start

In the fight least likely to go the distance, Lewis (26-8, 1 NC) and Tuivasa (13-3) meet in a heavyweight clash. Lewis broke the UFC record for most wins by knockout with a first-round KO of Chris Daukaus in December. Tuivasa has won his last four fights by KO/TKO, and three of those have come in the first round. These two men are coming in swinging, although Tuivasa is a bit more varied due to his background in kickboxing.

However, Lewis isn’t just a brawler, not any more. He has learned to mix up when to brawl and when to box, and he can still take a shot. Lewis gets the edge in the UFC 271 odds so far, but the line has moved more towards Tuivasa in recent weeks and continues to do so.

Jared Cannonier (-170) vs. Derek Brunson (+139) – Middleweight

Jared Cannonier celebrates a win

Cannonier (14-5) has won four of his last five, with the one loss coming to Whitaker. He also dropped to middleweight after losing three of four there, and he actually came into the UFC as a heavyweight back in January 2015. Brunson (23-7) has put together a five-match win streak since losing to Adesanya in November 2018, and he has stuck to what he knows: a strong wrestling background, a sneaky submission game and improved striking. That’s going to come in handy against Cannonier, who is probably the most powerful striker at 185 pounds. Usually when he hits people, they go down.

The UFC 271 odds favor Cannonier’s power, but that won’t matter to Brunson, who has been the sports betting underdog in each of his last four fights. His style isn’t pretty, but it’s effective and that will be Brunson’s key to scoring a big upset on Saturday night.

Dave Consolazio

Dave Consolazio has been passionate about writing and sports journalism since his high school years. He has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC where he worked with the school's radio and television stations. His work has been featured in SportsbookReview, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation. Dave's experience ranges across multiple fields in the gambling industry. You can find his sports, casino, and poker articles in GambleOnline.co.

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