Las Vegas, January 23: The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, March 7 with UFC 248 two thrilling world championship bouts featuring a first time title defences of the new middleweight king and the new women's strawweight queen.
In the event's headliner, undefeated middleweight champion Israel Adesanya goes for another show-stealing performance against No. 3 ranked contender Yoel Romero.
Among the standout fighters of 2019, Adesanya (18-0, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand by way of Lagos, Nigeria) capped off the year by dethroning middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in front of the largest-ever Octagon live audience.
The former kickboxer has also earned spectacular victories against Kelvin Gastelum, Anderson Silva and Derek Brunson. Adesanya now looks to kick off his 2020 with another highlight-reel finish to secure his first successful title defense.
A perennial contender at 185 pounds, Romero (13-4, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba) is considered one of the most dangerous competitors in the entire sport.
The 2000 Olympic silver medalist wrestler has delivered sensational knockout wins over former champions Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida. Romero now aims to achieve his destiny by capturing UFC gold and handing Adesanya his first MMA loss.
In the co-main event, strawweight champion Zhang Weili will take on the toughest test of her career when she meets former titleholder and No. 4 ranked contender Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
The first Chinese UFC champion, Zhang (20-1, fighting out of Beijing, China) made history when she delivered a spectacular 42-second knockout against Jessica Andrade in August to capture the title.
Riding a 20-fight win streak, Zhang has also netted impressive victories over Tecia Torres, Jessica Aguilar and Danielle Taylor since joining the UFC roster in 2018. Zhang now aims to secure her first successful title defense against the former strawweight queen.
The most dominant champion in UFC strawweight history, Jedrzejczyk (16-3, fighting out of Olsztyn, Poland) successfully defended her title five times during a reign that lasted more than two years.
Throughout her career, she has delivered thrilling victories against Michelle Waterson, Claudia Gadelha (twice), Jessica Penne and Carla Esparza. Jedrzejczyk now aims to further add to her legacy by becoming the first fighter to reclaim the UFC's 115-pound championship.
Additional bouts on the card include:
• In a pivotal middleweight bout, No. 8 ranked contender Derek Brunson (20-7, fighting out of Wilmington, N.C.) takes on undefeated No. 9 Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0, fighting out of Glendale, Calif.)
• Fan favorite Alex Oliveira (19-8-1 2NC, fighting out of Tres Rios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) faces Max Griffin (15-7, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) in an exciting welterweight bout
• Unbeaten grappling ace Rodolfo Vieira (6-0, fighting out of Orlando, Fla. by way of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) takes on Saparbek Safarov (9-2, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia)
• No. 15 ranked welterweight contender Neil Magny (21-8, fighting out of Denver, Colo.) meets surging Li Jingliang (16-5, fighting out of Beijing, China)
• In an exciting lightweight bout, Beneil Dariush (17-4-1, fighting out of Yorba Linda, Calif.) squares off with Drakkar Klose (11-1-1, fighting out of Glendale, Calif.)
• Emily Whitmire (4-3, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) takes on Polyana Viana (10-4, fighting out of São Geraldo do Araguaia, Para, Brazil) in a strawweight bout
• Danaa Batgerel (6-2, fighting out of Erdenetsagaan, Sukhbaatar, Mongolia) faces Guido Cannetti (8-4, fighting out of San Antonio de Padua, Buenos Aires, Argentina) in a bantamweight bout.
UFC 248: Adesanya vs. Romero will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 7 and will stream live on Pay-Per-View, exclusively through ESPN+ in the U.S. at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT in both English and Spanish.
Fans will be able to purchase UFC 248: Adesanya vs. Romero online at ESPNPlus.com/PPV or on the ESPN App on mobile and connected-TV devices.
Preliminary fights will air in the US in English on ESPN and on ESPN Deportes (in Spanish) starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT with the early prelims simulcast on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+ at 6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT.
In India, Sony Pictures Network will telecast the main card on Sony TEN 2 and stream the card live on Sony LIV. The prelims, however, can only be streamed using the UFC Fight Pass. And due to time difference, the event will take place in India on Sunday (March 8).
Source: Press Release