- What: UFC 287 PPV card
- Main Event: Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2 for UFC middleweight title
- Date: Saturday, April 9, 2023
- Location: Miami-Dade Arena, Miami, FL
- Time: Early Prelims (6 p.m. ET), Prelims (8 p.m. ET), Main Card (10 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Early Prelims (ESPN+) Prelims (ESPN). Main Card (ESPN + pay-per-view)
A rematch not long in the making headlines Saturday’s UFC 287 ESPN+ pay-per-view card. In that contest, current UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira faces the man he knocked out to earn that belt, Israel Adesanya at Miami-Dade Arena. Here is some background on the card’s main event fighters before we discuss, in detail, the UFC 287 betting breakdown.
In their first meeting, which headlined the UFC 281 pay-per-view event in November at Madison Square Garden, Pereira pulled off a come-from-behind victory, knocking out Adesanya in the fifth round and ending his reign as UFC middleweight titleholder after five successful title defenses. UFC 287 marks Pereira’s first attempt at defending his UFC crown.
Pereira enters UFC 287 with a 7-1 professional MMA record. He began his UFC career in 2021 after holding divisional titles at middleweight and light heavyweight with Glory kickboxing. Pereira is 4-0 in the UFC with three knockout wins. Adesanya began his MMA career in 2012. He competed in kickboxing and MMA until 2017, when he started to focus just on MMA. Adesanya joined the UFC in 2018 with an 11-0 record. He is 23-2 in his MMA career, with 15 knockout wins and eight victories via decision.
UFC 287 Picks: Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2
|To Win UFC 287 Main Event
Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2 breakdown and analysis
Despite being the older fighter at 35, Alex Pereira is still learning on the job when it comes to MMA and that makes him both dangerous and worrisome. The 33-year-old Israel Adesanya is the more experienced, well-coached, and developed MMA fighter because he has been concentrating on MMA for far longer than Pereira. He has also been competing at the top level of the UFC for a lot longer. What that means is we have seen the best of Adesanya, while we have yet to witness Pereira at the top of his MMA game.
To win this rematch, Adesanya needs to listen to his coaches and work within the plan they have established for him. In the first fight, Adesanya spent too much time on the outside. He allowed Pereira to force his back to the fence. Because of that, when Pereira put late pressure on him, Adesanya had nowhere to go but to the fence. He cannot allow himself to be put in that position. Further, Adesanya needs to exploit his opponent’s suspect takedown defense.
As for Pereira, now that he knows what it takes to go five rounds, he needs to be more aggressive with his striking early. If he can force Adesanya to the fence, and trap him there, and hurt him, while reserving enough energy for a five-round fight, Pereira should be able to score more points than he did in the first fight and win more rounds.
These two met twice in kickboxing bouts before they faced off at UFC 281 in November. Pereira won their first meeting in 2016 by unanimous decision. In the 2017 rematch, Adesanya looked poised to win on points, but a left hook left him down and out in the third round, and gave Pereira the KO win. In their first MMA bout, Adesanya once again looked like he was on his way to a win via points — he was ahead 39-37 going into the fifth round on all scorecards — but Pereira’s striking once again proved to be the difference maker as he knocked out Adesanya at the 2:01 mark of the final round.
Who has the edge
Adesanya is the more talented and well-rounded fighter of these two, but Pereira’s striking, thanks to his size and kickboxing acumen, is a difference-maker.
I know some who will say Pereira has a psychological edge over Adesanya thanks to his three previous combat sports wins, but I don’t buy that. If Adesanya’s mind were that fragile, he would have fallen apart after losing to UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in 2021. Instead, Adesanya bounced back from that setback and defended his middleweight title three times before losing to Pereira.
Best UFC 287 bets
It’s a bit of a surprise to see Alex Pereira as the UFC 287 betting underdog. With that being the case, he presents a decent value as a pick to win. However, there is more value in picking the method of victory for Pereira. I could see spreading UFC 287 bets on him to win via decision or knockout.
On the other hand, Adesanya is the favorite for a reason, he is experienced and can learn from his mistakes. If one thinks he will learn from the UFC 281 loss to Pereira, by all means, a UFC 287 bet for him to win is not out of line. As for the method of victory if you’re leaning twoard Adesanya, I would say decision because he is likely to fight in a more conservative fashion at UFC 287 than he did in November.
My UFC 287 betting pick is Pereira to win via knockout.
Best UFC 287 Main Event Betting Pick: Alex Pereira to beat Israel Adesanya by knockout.
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