UFC 287: Pereira vs. Adesanya 2 Fight Card, Predictions, & Odds

min read
Brazil's Alex Pereira, right, fights Nigeria's Israel Adesanya during the first round of a middleweight bout title bout in the UFC 281.
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Apr 03, 2023, 9:24 PM
  • Israel Adesanya is the favorite at -145.
  • Alex Pereira is the underdog at +120.
  • This will be the fourth meeting between Pereira and Adesanya, two in kickboxing and two in MMA.

Another chapter in the combat sports rivalry between Alex Pereira (7-1) and Israel Adesanya (23-2) will be added this weekend as the two feared strikers meet again for the second time in an MMA match, which will headline UFC 287 inside Miami-Dade Arena. The pair switch roles for this rematch as Adesanya now challenges the reigning champion Pereira for the undisputed middleweight title.

Adesanya, the former 185-pound champion, comes in as the favorite in UFC odds at -145 against the newly minted champion Pereira who takes the underdog role at +120 in UFC betting lines. One of the main reasons “The Last Stylebender” is still the favored fighter over “Poatan” despite losing the previous fight in the final round via TKO is his performance in the first four rounds, where he outstruck and outclassed Pereira.

Another reason for Adesanya’s favored odds to reclaim his title is the speculation that he will have a new game plan to neutralize Pereira’s power punches by grappling and taking him down on the ground. This would be a great strategy to score points on the judges’ scorecards and lessen the damage that he could receive during the fight.

Alex Pereira Recent Fight Results

Alex Pereira’s MMA debut came in October 2015, when he got a rude welcome to the sport with a third-round submission loss to Quemel Ottoni in Brazil. However, he was able to bounce back quickly with back-to-back stoppage wins under the same promotion to make up for his debut loss. After those three MMA bouts, the Brazilian returned to competing in kickboxing.

In 2017, he captured the Glory Kickboxing Middleweight title, then headlined an LFA MMA card against Thomas Powell in November 2020. Pereira made quick work of Powell with a first-round knockout finish via a punch. Following another MMA win, the Sao Paulo native made a historic kickboxing feat by winning the light heavyweight belt and becoming the first two-division champion in Glory Kickboxing’s history.

After this remarkable achievement, Pereira finally committed to MMA full-time by signing with the UFC. He made his highly anticipated debut in November 2021 against Andreas Michailidis and was immediately impressed with a highlight-reel second-round flying knee TKO of him to send a strong message of his arrival in the division.

Four months after that astounding victory, he was matched with fellow Brazilian Bruno Silva. “Poatan” masterfully outpointed Silva and bagged another win to his record with a unanimous decision result. In July 2022, Pereira’s hype train gained an enormous following when he knocked out top contender Sean Strickland in the opening round of their match.

His atomic punches were fully displayed as Strickland could not keep up with Pereira’s power and accuracy. This incredible win earned him a title shot with Israel Adesanya in November 2022. In the first four rounds, Adesanya was successful in outstriking Pereira on the feet and even beat him in the grappling positions and scrambles.

But knowing that he was behind on the judges’ scorecards, Pereira mounted an astonishing comeback in the fifth round and scored a TKO victory to not only dethrone Adesanya and become the new king of the weight class but, more importantly, reassert his mastery over “The Last Stylebender,” whom he previously beat twice in their kickboxing encounters.

Israel Adesanya Recent Fight Results

Before losing the undisputed middleweight crown to Pereira in November 2022, Israel Adesanya had five successful title defenses over Yoel Romero (unanimous decision in March 2020), Paulo Costa (second-round TKO in September 2020), Marvin Vettori (unanimous decision in June 2021), Robert Whittaker (unanimous decision in their March 2021 rematch) and Jared Cannonier (unanimous decision in July 2022).

Along with those title defenses, the Nigeria-born fighter also tried to become a two-division UFC champion by challenging then-UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz in March 2021. Instead, he was beaten unanimously by the Polish champion to sustain the first defeat of his MMA career.

Adesanya first tasted UFC gold after defeating Kelvin Gastelum in April 2019 for the interim title before solidifying his status as the division’s undisputed champion with his second-round knockout of Robert Whittaker in their first meeting in October 2019. Before his run to the title, the City Kickboxing representative had five straight wins.

“The Last Stylebender” defeated Robert Wilkinson in his UFC debut in February 2018 via second-round TKO, Marvin Vettori via split decision in April 2018, Brad Tavares via unanimous decision in July 2018, Derek Brunson via first-round TKO in November 2018, and the legendary Anderson Silva via unanimous decision in February 2019.

Pereira vs. Adesanya 2: Tale of the Tape

Alex PereiraIsrael Adesanya
Reach79 inches80 inches
Leg Reach44 inches44.5 inches
Fighting StyleKickboxingKickboxing
Finishing Rate86%65%

Pereira vs. Adesanya 2: Fight Analysis

Adesanya’s one-inch reach advantage and half-inch height advantage over Pereira can now be thrown out of the equation for this upcoming rematch, as these were almost non-factors in the previous meeting. Also, this will be the fourth time the two fighters will lock horns, as the two already scrapped in two kickboxing matches before.

Those three meetings, however, were all in favor of Pereira, with the first kickboxing ending in a highly debatable result and the second meeting resulting in Pereira’s come-from-behind knockout victory against Adesanya. Their first MMA meeting was a carbon copy of their second kickboxing bout.

Coming into this title rematch, Adesanya’s superior MMA skills are not questioned against Pereira because he was able to hurt him multiple times in the first four rounds of the match before getting caught with Pereira’s signature combination in the final round, which ultimately ended his reign as the king of the middleweight division.

However, Pereira may just be Adesanya’s worst nightmare in combat sports as he always haunts him in their matchups, often getting hurt and rocked but never being finished. Additionally, “Poatan’s” confidence has undoubtedly been boosted with his latest win over “The Last Stylebender,” thus playing a significant factor going into the match, much like we’ve seen with Leon Edwards’ repeat triumph over Kamaru Usman in UFC 286.

Official Prediction: TKO/KO victory for Alex Pereira

See the entire UFC 287: Pereira vs. Adesanya 2 odds and wagers here.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.