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Best bets for UFC 243: Adesanya vs. Whittaker

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Okamoto, Sonnen break down UFC 243 (2:42)

Brett Okamoto and Chael Sonnen give their thoughts on UFC 243, headlined by Robert Whittaker defending his title vs. Israel Adesanya. For more UFC, sign up here for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc (2:42)

I think I once heard a joke about two Kiwis getting into a fight in Australia. But the main event this weekend at UFC 243 is no joke, as two of the best middleweight strikers meet to unify their belts.

The incumbent champ, Robert Whittaker, opened as a slight betting favorite. The interim champ, Israel Adesanya, opened as a slight underdog, which would be a first for him if the line holds. But the line has shifted significantly during fight week and realistically could flip before fight night, making Adesanya the favorite. Either way, the odds are close, and we'll see why.

Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook, as of Oct. 2.


Middleweight championship: Interim champion Israel Adesanya (-115) vs. champion Robert Whittaker (-105)

On paper, both guys prefer to stand and trade, with Adesanya having never landed a takedown in his UFC career. Why bother? His long-range striking has surpassed that of Anderson Silva as the slickest in the game. He's accurate, he has power, and he owns the longest reach of any active middleweight. If it turns into a striking duel, you can see why the market is coming in on Adesanya so far.