UFC 287: Pereira vs. Adesanya Main Event Predictions
UFC 287: PEREIRA vs. ADESANYA MAIN EVENT PREDICTIONS – It’s not often you see two fighters compete against each other four times across two different combat sports, but that is what we are in store for this weekend.
Newly-minted middleweight champion, Alex Pereira, hopes to close the chapter once and for all with his rival this weekend while notching his first successful title defense.
Recently dethroned, Israel Adesanya, wants to finally make good on his fourth attempt at defeated his foe this weekend and re-claim his title at the same time.
Will ‘Poatan’ be able to fend off ‘The Last Stylebender’ once more? Or will Adesanya finally get his revenge? Read on to see how these fighters match up and if there is a viable betting approach for this fight.
You would be hard-pressed to find a fighter who rose as quickly as Pereira has in the UFC ranks to find himself in a title fight AND to make good on the opportunity.
Making his UFC debut in November 2021, it took Pereira just three wins to secure his title shot. Almost a year to the date of his debut, he won the title.
Obviously, the circumstances surrounding his history with the former champion in the kickboxing realm helped expedite his run to the top, but he impressed the entire way.
People may look at Pereira as simply a power puncher with vast amounts of kickboxing experience.
However, he is very intelligent on how he applies his pressure with his power. Hacking away at his opponent’s legs to stifle their movement. This eventually opens up his explosive lead left hook, which he has crumpled many men with in the past.
Teaming up with Glover Teixeira is the best thing Pereira could have done for his MMA career. Teixeira has set up camp in Danbury, Connecticut over the last several year. He trains with a very small team that catered to all of his needs. Pereira latched onto that approach and has been getting high level grappling tips from the former light heavyweight champion.
It’s helped in Pereira’s defensive grappling skills as that’s clearly the realm he needed to sharpen most to be successful at this level.
Similar to his Nigerian countryman, Kamaru Usman, Adesanya was one fight away from tying one of Anderson Silva’s all-time UFC records.
With a win at UFC 278, Usman would have tied Anderson Silva for the longest winning streak in UFC history with 16 straight victories.
Leon Edwards had other plans that night, though. For Adesanya, with a win at UFC 281, he would have tied Anderson Silva’s middleweight winning streak record at 13, but Alex Pereira stopped him in his tracks. N
ot a good end to the year for the dominant Nigerian champions. Usman was unable to exact his revenge in March, Adesanya has his opportunity this weekend.
Although Pereira’s rise to the top of the division was quicker than Adesanya’s, it was only by a couple months that Pereira beat him. Adesanya debuted in the UFC in February 2018 and challenged for the undisputed title in October 2019, which is the night he defeated Robert Whittaker for the first time.
Adesanya tried achieving greatness by moving up a weight class and capture the light heavyweight title in March 2021, but was unsuccessful as the size and weight advantage for Jan Blachowicz was too much for him that night.
He went back down to defend his title three more times before posed with the threat of his former kickboxing rival.
Many have accredited Adesanya’s success to his disciplined striking approach and his lack of taking risks.
At times, fans have turned against him because of lackluster performances, most recently against Jared Cannonier.
However, this rivalry with Pereira brought out the fire in Adesanya and we were treated to a highly competitive fight back at UFC 281. We saw Adesanya bring out his grappling chops in round 3 with great success.
At his best though, Adesanya hovers at the edge of his opponent’s range and picks them apart with leg kicks and straight shots down the pipe.
He has nullified many fighter’s with this approach, keeping fighters like Paulo Costa and Jared Cannonier from landing their patented power strikes.
It’s always a dangerous proposition picking against a fighter with devastating knockout power like Alex Pereira has. However, we saw that Adesanya can construct a game plan to safely bank multiple rounds against the knockout threat.
He was up 3-1 on all scorecards before getting finished in the final frame.
From mixing it up in the clinch, to landing takedowns, to doing enough with his distance striking, Adesanya showed it all. He is highly critical of all his own performances, knowing he can adjust certain things to bring better results in future fights.
One aspect he highlighted soon after the fight was that he allowed Pereira to land too many calf kicks which hurt his movement deeper in the fight. He feels if he can check more kicks or evade them better, he can avoid getting put in a bad position like the one that saw him get finished.
With that analytical approach, I fully expect him to devise a plan to get the victory this time around. I wouldn’t call Adesanya a “lock” by any means, but I do think he is correctly favored here and can make up for his last blunder.