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UFC 287 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya: Market Wrong on Main Event (Saturday, April 8)

UFC 287 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya: Market Wrong on Main Event (Saturday, April 8) article feature image

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya

  • Middleweight champ Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2 is the UFC 287 main event on Saturday night.
  • The latest UFC 287 odds have Pereira as a small favorite over "Izzy."
  • Below, Sean Zerillo breaks down the matchup and shares his favorite Pereira vs. Adesanya bet.

Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya Odds

Pereira Odds
Adesanya Odds
4.5 (+100 / -130)
Miami-Dade Arena in Florida
11:59 p.m. ET
UFC 287 odds as of Friday and via DraftKings

UFC middleweight gold is on the line on Saturday night in Miami at UFC 287 as Alex Pereira looks to defend his belt for the first time when he meets former champion Israel Adesanya.

Pereira defeated Adesanya at UFC 281 in November when he landed a left hook and swarmed the champion for a fifth-round TKO victory while trailing on all scorecards.

Saturday’s tilt (ESPN+ pay-per-view, with main-event walkouts at approximately 11:50 p.m. ET) will mark the fourth iteration of this rivalry; Pereira won both kickboxing matchups and their UFC title bout.

Below, I’ll provide my analysis and projections for the fight card headliner and utilize those factors to bet on the UFC 287 main event between Adesanya and Pereira.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time11:1418:26
Weight (pounds)185 lbs.185 lbs.
Reach (inches)79″80″
Date of birth7/7/19877/22/1989
Sig Strikes Per Min5.233.93
SS Accuracy59%50%
SS Absorbed Per Min3.632.80
SS Defense53%58%
Take Down Avg0.330.06
TD Acc100%14%
TD Def73%77%
Submission Avg0.00.2

Anytime we get a UFC rematch, I like to reread my assessment before the prior fight and compare the odds to determine how perceptions have changed.

In November, I projected Adesanya as a 65.5% favorite (-190 implied), and I said I would have bet him around opening odds (-170). Ultimately, I bet the fight to end inside the distance at -105 – and was disappointed when Adesanya missed his chance to finish at the end of Round 1.

However, I was ultimately delighted by the outcome. I did project slight value on Pereira to win by KO/TKO (projected +262, listed +275) and mentioned that in my writeup.

Before the fight, I mentioned Adesanya’s difficulty facing an opponent at size parity – a rarity for his middleweight career. Prior to facing Pereira, Adesanya owned a reach advantage of 6.25 inches while standing 4 inches taller in his four recent middleweight defenses.

Pereira is the same height as him and faces only a one-inch reach discrepancy – but Poatan is also the bigger man, with the head, hands and legs of a heavyweight on a middleweight torso. He is built differently – and carries the most significant power of any opponent Adesanya has faced.

Adesanya is the more technical striker – and the superior MMA fighter.

He also retains the grappling upside in this matchup, and I’m curious to see if he shoots more takedowns after securing one (with 3:47 of control time) in the third round against Pereira, his most dominant round of the fight.

However, while Izzy is the slightly better technician, Pereira will apply pressure and control the proceedings’ pace and distance.

He will continually look to press forward and back Adesanya against the cage, where he can limit Adesanya’s lateral movement and hope to land another concussive left hook.

Even before the knockout, Adesanya was in the same range – and similar trouble – throughout the fight. He relied on excellent defense and head movement to emerge from those positions relatively unscathed. Still, Pereira’s pressure cornered Adesanya in several moments when it seemed like he could create a finishing sequence.

Pereira was also the first fighter I’ve seen who was willing to kick with Adesanya. You often hear fight analysts say that you need to jab a jabber – but kickboxers work the same way. And while Izzy is an immaculate offensive kicker, he didn’t love the damage Pereira inflicted upon his legs.

After the fight, he said it slowed his movement and limited his footwork, forcing him to get backed into the corner of the octagon continually.

Given the optics of Pereiera’s pressure and power, three of the rounds seemed clear tossups, aside from the final 10 seconds of the opening frame, when Adesanya stole the round with a near knockout.

Adesanya nearly finishes off both Whittaker and Pereira in the last seconds of the 1st round

— schwick (@schwick6) March 25, 2023

If the round had lasted 10 seconds longer, perhaps Adesanya knocks him out, and we would never see a rematch. And if Adesanya scores the same knockdown against Pereira that he scored in their last kickboxing match, he would have finished him in MMA too.

Variance is tricky; in their three fights, Adesanya has won the majority of minutes – and probably landed as many truly impactful blows as Pereira (aside from the shot where he went fully unconscious). However, due to timing and fight dynamics, Adesanya is 0-3 in those fights.

Indeed, that has to take a mental toll on Adesanya at some point – and fill Pereira with additional confidence – but I also don’t see the minute-winning so clearly for Adesanya, despite past scorecards.

Eliminate the final 10 seconds of Round 1, or flip one of the other 50/50 rounds his way, and Pereiera is tied 2-2 or ahead in the fifth round of that fight. And we would view that finish – and the final round – entirely differently.

Aside from the third round, where Adesanya wrestled offensively, the striking metrics were close and competitive, but Pereira provided superior optics (aggression and power) throughout.

Pereira vs. Adesanya Pick

Compared to the first fight, I am higher on both Pereira (projected 48.2%, +107 implied) and the fight to end inside the distance (projected -146, 41% implied).

However, the odds for both have also moved since the first bout. We bet the inside-the-distance prop at -105 for the first fight (closed -130); I can’t recommend a wager at current prices (-138, best available at FanDuel).

I recommend a wager on Pereira, either on the moneyline (to +115) or his KO/TKO prop (projected +177, listed +210 at FanDuel). Alternatively, bet Pereira to win inside the distance (projected +160, listed +190 at DraftKings). I’ll use the winning method props to close out a round-robin for the card.

I view Pereira as the likelier finisher and also see the minute-winning aspect of the fight as a closer battle than the market perceives.

The Pick: Alex Pereira (+120, 0.5u at DraftKings)

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