As per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (18-0) will make his first title defense at UFC 248 on March 7. Standing across from him will be Cuba’s “Soldier of God,” Yoel Romero (13-4).
Adesanya won the middleweight championship in October by knocking out former champion Robert Whittaker. The Olympic silver medalist wrestler, Romero, will get the first shot at “The Last Stylebender” as champion.
Adesanya’s first defense was originally expected to be against Paulo Costa. However, Costa suffered an injury, and the City Kickboxing product made it clear that he wanted Romero in the meantime. Well, he will get his wish in March.
This is a big addition to UFC 248 as the card just lost the aforementioned Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier. This 185-pound title contest will be the main event of the card that takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada at the T-Mobile Arena.
Romero is currently the No. 3 ranked contender in the division and is coming off a decision loss against Costa at UFC 241. Prior to that, he suffered a second career loss to Whittaker in one of 2018’s best fights.
As for the rest of UFC 248, the current lineup looks as follows.
- Middleweight – 185lbs: (C)Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero
- Strawweight – 115lbs: (C)Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
- Middleweight: TBD vs. Jared Cannonier
- Welterweight – 170lbs: Alex Oliveira vs. Max Griffin
- Middleweight: Rodolfo Vieira vs. Saparbek Safarov
- Welterweight: Neil Magny vs. Li Jingliang
- Strawweight: Emily Whitmire vs. Polyana Viana
- Bantamweight – 135lbs: Danaa Batgerel vs. Guido Cannetti
- Lightweight – 155lbs: Beneil Dariush vs. Drakkar Klose
- Bantamweight: Sean O’Malley vs. José Alberto Quiñónez
- Lightweight: Mark Madsen vs. Austin Hubbard