No sooner had the judges revealed their scorecards in favor of Jon Jones over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in Houston did the world begin turning its attention to the next big UFC pay-per-view event of 2020. UFC 248 features UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya taking on his toughest challenge to date, a 42-year-old Cuban bowling ball named Yoel Romero.
The event takes place Saturday, Mar. 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Adesanya vs. Romero will be distributed exclusively in the U.S. via ESPN+ PPV.
Here’s everything you need to know to get hyped about UFC 248.
UFC 248 Main Event Could Be End of Adesanya’s Undefeated Streak
Adesanya, 30, is undefeated in MMA across 18 contests. The former kickboxer enjoyed a breakout year in 2019 which culminated in the Nigerian-born New Zealander claiming full ownership of the UFC middleweight championship by knocking out Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in October.
Now Adesanya is set to make his first title defense of the undisputed middleweight championship against Romero, a powerhouse contender who is probably the best UFC middleweight to never have captured UFC gold.
Romero enters UFC 248 having lost two straight fights. In fact, the only reason Romero is getting the title shot at all is that the No. 1 middleweight contender Paulo Costa is injured. Costa defeated Romero via split decision at UFC 241. But the former Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling is legitimately one of the toughest outs at 185 pounds. Sure, Adesanya is undefeated and seemingly on his way to becoming a huge superstar. But Romero has enough grappling skills and power punching to play the ultimate spoiler.
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China’s First UFC Champion Seeks Tough Title Defense Win
Weili Zhang, the UFC women’s strawweight champion, is coming off the single biggest win of her fighting career. The 30-year-old shockingly destroyed Jessica Andrade in just 42 seconds at UFC Fight Night 157 in August to capture the title belt, and China’s first-ever UFC champ now hopes to retain her claim to the throne against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the co-main event.
Jedrzejczyk, 32, from Poland, enters UFC 248 having lost three of her last five fights. In her last bout, she defeated Michelle Waterson at UFC Fight Night 161 in October to earn the title shot against Zhang. Despite her recent struggles, Jedrzejczyk is one of the toughest and most skilled competitors in the division. Her only losses came in title fights against topnotch performers Valentina Shevchenko and Rose Namajunas (twice). Her win over Waterson proved she’s still a force at 115 pounds.
Zhang-Jedrzejczyk is a riveting matchup that should provide plenty of action. For Zhang, beating Jedrzejczyk would prove her title grab against Andrade was way more than just a fluke. For Jedrzejczyk, UFC 248 is a chance for the fighter to add to her already impressive resume as one of the top women’s division fighters in the sport.
UFC 248 Time, Date, Location and Fight Card Info
UFC 248 will be a PPV event distributed exclusively by ESPN+ PPV in the U.S. The Prelims will be telecast by ESPN, and the Early Prelims will be on ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass. Here’s the rest of the information you need to get ready for fight night.
What: UFC 248: Adesanya vs. Romero
Time: 9:00 pm ET (Prelims begin at 7:00 pm ET, Early Prelims begin at 5:15 PM ET)
Date: Saturday, March 7
Location: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
UFC 248 Main Card (ESPN+ PPV)
Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero
Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan
Neil Magny vs. Li Jingliang
Sean O’Malley vs. Jose Quinonez
UFC 248 Prelims (ESPN)
Rodolfo Vieira vs. Saparbeg Safarov
Mark O. Madsen vs. Austin Hubbard
Beneil Dariush vs. Drakkar Klose
Alex Oliveira vs. Max Griffin
UFC 248 Early Prelims (ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass)
Gerald Meerschaert vs. Deron Winn
Emily Whitmire vs. Polyana Viana
Douglas Silva de Andrade vs. Movsar Evloev
Danaa Batgerel vs. Guido Cannetti