Everything you need to know about UFC 287: Pereira Vs Adesanya 2

Publish Date
Thursday, 6 April 2023, 7:40AM

ACC UFC contributor Felix Heath-Collins with everything you need to know ahead of UFC 287: Pereira Vs Adesanya 2!

Kiwi fight fans have been waiting since November for this weekend's UFC 287 PPV. That's because, in the main event, the Nigerian-born Kiwi former champion Israel Adesanya rematches the new king at middleweight, Alex Pereira.

Israel "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya (23-2)(wins-losses) was long considered the top kickboxer in modern MMA. His combat sports credentials are impeccable and he was only knocked out once in his entire championship kickboxing career. That knockout came against Brazil's Alex "Poatan" Pereira and his devastating left hook. Following that KO loss Adesanya finally moved to the UFC where he went on an incredible streak of 9 straight wins earning himself the middleweight championship in the process. An unsuccessful attempt to claim the light-heavyweight title left Adesanya with the first loss on his pro-MMA record. Back at middleweight, Adesanya defended his belt three more times before meeting his old nemesis Alex Pereira once again.

Alex "Poatan" Pereira (7-1) recently transitioned to MMA and immediately started tearing through the middleweight division in pursuit of Adesanya. Pereira won his first three UFC fights (two via KO) before earning the chance to challenge for the title. What followed at UFC 281 was, predictably, the hardest and most tightly contested of Adesanya's middleweight fights thus far. By the fifth round, Adesanya was up three rounds to one going into the fifth and final round. Just five more minutes to secure the decision. In round five Pereira backed a fatigued Adesanya up against the cage before landing a devastating series of punches (including his patented left hook). By 2:01 of round five, Adesanya was taking too much punishment and the referee called the fight via TKO. Now Pereria is the undisputed champ of the middleweights and Adesanya has one more chance to reclaim his belt.

In the first fight, I predicted an extremely close contest that Adesanya would edge out due to MMA experience and gas tank. What happened was Adesanya outpointed Pereira for three of the four rounds before becoming fatigued in the fifth, allowing a defensive opening for Pereira to exploit. The problem with this match-up is Adesanya wins via skill, but Pereira wins via power every time. Adesanya either needs to manage his stamina very carefully over five full rounds, or change up the game plan to involve more grappling (which Pereira is inexperienced at). Of course, I still have Adesanya winning. This time I predict a slower fight that opens up to grappling toward the middle rounds with Adesanya claiming the victory via decision. But they both have fight-finishing power so anything is possible.

In the co-main event, we also have a barn-burner between Gilbert "Durinho" Burns and Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal.

UFC 287 goes down this Sunday for us here in New Zealand, with the main card starting at 2:00 PM and the earliest prelims at 10:00 AM. This easter treat isn't one to miss. Enjoy!

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