Some rivalries just never die.
Two middleweights are set to meet for a fourth time in the combat sports arena as current UFC Middleweight Champion Alex Pereira takes on former champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 287.
This is the second time the two top fighters are meeting in the UFC, but they’ve faced off twice before in kickboxing bouts. Pereira has won all three matchups (twice by finish), including the last bout at Madison Square Garden at UFC 281.
Pereira and Adesanya are the headliners of the stacked card at Miami-Dade Arena on April 8 in Miami, Florida.
Check out our UFC 287 odds, props, and predictions.
UFC 287 Main Event Odds: Pereira vs. Adesanya 2
Though he’s lost to Pereira three times now, Adesanya is the slight early favorite at -155 in many sportsbooks.
The champion Pereira is a slight underdog at +135.
UFC · Sat (4/8) @ 7:00 pm ET
|Israel Adesanya||at||Alex Pereira|
|Miami-Dade Arena, Miami, FL|
UFC 287 Co-Main Event Odds: Burns vs. Masvidal
In the co-main slot, welterweight powerhouse Gilbert Burns is a sizable favorite at -450 against Miami’s own Jorge Masvidal, who comes in as a +360 underdog.
UFC 287: Pereira vs. Adesanya 2 Betting Preview
Pereira Looks for the Four-Peat in Miami
It looks like history will always tie UFC Middleweight Champion Alex Pereira (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) and his rival Adesanya together forever. It will be hard to mention one of their careers without acknowledging the other.
Both men have had stellar combat sports experiences. Both are great strikers and have accomplished kickboxing — and now — MMA careers.
However, no matter where Adesanya has gone and no matter how many men he’s taken down over the years, Pereira has had his number.
Pereira and Adesanya first met in kickboxing at Glory of Heroes 1 in China where Pereira won a majority decision back in 2016. 1-0, Pereira.
A year later, the two kickboxers ran it back in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Pereira caught Adesanya with his infamous, powerful left hook which sent him straight to the canvas for a knockout win. 2-0, Pereira.
Adesanya then turned to MMA after that bout and would join the UFC just a year later, rising up to become the middleweight champion and taking out every other top contender. His only UFC loss at the time was during his attempt to become a double champion at light heavyweight against then-champion, Jan Blachowicz.
Queue: Alex Pereira. After a couple of MMA bouts of his own, Pereira was signed to the UFC and debuted in 2021 at Madison Square Garden. After a three-fight win streak, he met his old rival in the same stadium he made his debut.
Pereira, who was losing the fight against Adesanya, again found a rhythm and caught the then-champ with a flurry of punches, finishing him in the fifth round.
Can he make it four times in a row though? Pereira has a way of finding openings on the feet that bring opponents down in a matter of seconds. He is a top-tier kickboxer with a left hand that sends men to the shadow realm.
However, his ground game can still use a lot of work, though it is improving. His takedown defense is predictably better than it was at the beginning of his career.
But if he’s going to want to write the same story a fourth time, he will have to keep this fight standing and establish control of the Octagon while on his feet.
Adesanya Hopes the Fourth Time Around is the Charm
Listen, Israel Adesanya (23-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) is one of the greatest middleweights to grace the UFC octagon, but there’s just something about Pereira that has been his kryptonite.
And in two of their previous matchups, Adesanya was clearly winning before he was caught and finished.
But this time around, Adesanya is the challenger instead of the champion. Does that change things? Does that provide an extra push of motivation for the man who has at times looked extremely bored against previous challengers and glided to multiple, easy decision wins?
To beat Pereira, Adesanya will have to be Pereira: a patient, slow-moving hunter looking for his opportunity to strike.
When these two share a cage or a ring, it’s a chess match of who can land a couple of perfect shots to rock the other and then finish the fight.
Adesanya has the resume to get this job done. He’s beaten the likes of Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa, Marvin Vettori, Jared Cannonier, Yoel Romero, Kelvin Gastelum, Anderson Silva, and many others.
If he gets the job done in Miami, the story changes and potentially opens up a fifth chapter overall for the two fighters to meet again for a third time in the UFC. However, if he doesn’t, he will be 0-4 against Pereira and a fifth fight will probably never make sense. As long as Pereira is champion, he will more than likely not get another shot at middleweight gold.
UFC 287 Event Info
Location: Miami-Dade Arena, Miami, FL
Date: Saturday, April 8, 2023
Start Time: Main Card at 10 p.m. ET
Where to Watch: ESPN+ PPV
Bet on UFC 287: Pereira vs. Adesanya 2Up to $1,000 paid back in bonus bets at BetMGM
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