- Date & Location: Saturday, February 12 @ Toyota Center in Houston, Texas
- Time: Early Prelims (6 p.m. ET), Prelims (8 p.m. ET), Main Card (10 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass, ESPN+), Prelims (ESPN, ESPN+). Main Card (ESPN + pay-per-view)
The UFC’s second pay-per-view card of 2022 does not feature two title fights, which January’s UFC 270 did. However, UFC 271, which takes place on February 12, features a middleweight title fight in the top spot on the card and a very important heavyweight bout in the co-main event slot.
In the main event, UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, faces the man he took the undisputed UFC crown from, Robert Whittaker. In the co-headliner, former UFC heavyweight title challenger Derrick Lewis faces rising star Tai Tuivasa in front of a hometown crowd for Lewis.
Before we look at the top two fights on the UFC 271 PPV card, which streams on ESPN+, check out the best UFC betting sites and where you can find the best odds on all the UFC fights.
UFC 271 Main Event Odds
|To Win UFC 271 Main Event|
Adesanya vs. Whittaker prediction and pick:
The first time Israel Adesanya faced Robert Whittaker was in front of over 57,100 fans at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. Adesanya, who was the interim champion at that time, unified the UFC middleweight titles with a second-round knockout win. Since that contest, Adesanya has defended his crown three times and Whittaker has gone 3-0.
I expect Whittaker to look much better in this rematch. He has repeatedly said that one reason he lost to Adesanya in their first meeting was that he allowed his opponent’s trash talk to get in his head and that caused Whittaker to fight with emotion. I don’t think we’ll see that type of emotional investment from Whittaker in this fight. However, I also don’t think Whittaker will win.
Whittaker is, without a doubt, the second best 185-pounder in the UFC. The gap between Whittaker and the rest of the UFC middleweight division is pronounced. The gap between Whittaker and Adesanya is also large.
Adesanya is 20-1 in his career. His only loss? A decision setback in 2021 in a UFC light heavyweight title fight. Whittaker is on a 12-1 run and his only defeat since 2014 was his KO loss to the champ.
Expect Whittaker to use leg kicks and wrestling to negate the striking, physical, and athletic advantages Adesanya has. I also believe that Whittaker will win some rounds by doing this. I don’t believe he will win enough rounds to sway the judges in his direction and with that I see that title staying with the current champ.
Pick: Adesanya via decision
Lewis vs. Tuivasa prediction and pick:
|To Win UFC 271 Co-Main Event|
The last time Derrick Lewis fought in his hometown of Houston, Ciryl Gane knocked him out to earn the interim UFC heavyweight title. Lewis said after that fight that he let the pressure of headlining a bout in Houston get to him. Now, in the co-main event at UFC 271, I expect we’ll see a different Lewis than we saw in August when he lost to Gane.
Lewis is a fan favorite, and his opponent, Tai Tuivasa, who is famous for drinking beer out of a sneaker after his wins (a shooey) is also a fighter with a lot of support. One reason fans love these two is their personalities. Another reason they are crowd pleasing fighters is they win their fights via knockout. The two have combined for 33 knockouts in 39 career victories.
I expect this fight to end via knockout and I think Lewis will be the winner. Lewis is a better technical fighter than Tuivasa and it’s his technical abilities that will help him to put Tuivasa in a position to get knocked out.
Pick: Lewis via knockout
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