UFC 287 Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya and More (Saturday, April 8)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC middleweight Israel Adesanya of Nigeria
- UFC 287: Pereira vs. Adesanya 2 takes place Saturday night in Miami with a full fight card of 13 bouts.
- Below, our MMA crew shares their UFC 287 best bets, including their picks for Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2.
- Check out their favorite UFC 287 bets and the latest odds below.
Check out our UFC 287 best bets ahead of the Saturday event in Miami, where middleweight champion Alex Pereira rematches ex-champ Israel Adesanya in the main event.
However, that five-round headliner isn’t the only fight our MMA experts are targeting. We have multiple picks for the 13-fight bout lineup, which includes prelims on ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET) and ESPN (8 p.m. ET), as well as a main card on ESPN pay-per-view (10 p.m. ET).
So where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed four fights and picks on Saturday’s stacked card that present betting value.
You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo’s projections below using UFC 287 odds from BetMGM.
(Note: Prior to the start of UFC 287, UFC officials announced the cancellation of the Karl Williams vs. Chase Sherman preliminary-card bout due to an undisclosed medical issue for Sherman.)
Sean Zerillo: Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs. Steve Garcia
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 6:45 p.m. ET
I projected Steve Garcia as a +132 underdog and would bet his moneyline down to around +140 in this matchup with Shayilan Nuerdanbieke.
I view Garcia as the superior striker – both in terms of finishing upside and overall volume – but he is also the more fragile fighter.
Garcia is extremely reckless and tends to rush into the pocket with his chin unprotected. He will force high-variance exchanges in which one fighter gets clipped – something you want when backing an underdog – but he is also more than capable of winning an output-based decision.
Nuerdanbieke is the superior wrestler, and he will attempt to shoot takedowns and control Garcia on the mat. Garcia may give up his back and get controlled for extended stretches too. However, I do expect him to scramble back to his feet, eventually, and land more damage when the pair is at striking range.
Nuerdanbieke prioritizes control over damage on the mat, so it’s possible that he can lose close rounds in which he dominates on control time but fails to pull away on strikes. Such a scenario leaves an opening for Garcia to swing scorecards with enthusiasm once they re-engage in the striking.
With fights clearly scored on damage nowadays, I’m more inclined to back fighters such Garcia, who may permit takedowns but will work to return to their feet and out-volume their opponents.
In addition to Garcia’s moneyline, I also see slight value on his KO/TKO prop (projected +416, listed +480 at BetRivers); however, that’s nothing beyond a round-robin piece, and I would be more inclined to use his moneyline anyway.
The Pick: Steve Garcia (+160 at DraftKings)
Tony Sartori: Karl Williams vs. Chase Sherman
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 7:55 p.m. ET
(NOTE: This fight was canceled prior to the start of the event because of an undisclosed medical issue for Sherman.)
To kick off the UFC 287 regular preliminary card, we have a heavyweight bout between Karl Williams and Chase Sherman.
A Contender Series veteran, Williams boasts a clean 2-0 record in the UFC while posting an overall professional record of 8-1.
Finding himself in familiar territory as a heavy betting favorite, Williams is 2-0 in such circumstances. While he boasts a good deal of power and can mix it up on the feet, his strength resides in his dominant wrestling.
In his Contender Series appearance, Williams landed all three of his takedown attempts and controlled Jimmy Lawson on the mat for north of 10 minutes in dominating fashion en route to a clean sweep on the scorecards (30-27). Williams followed up that performance with yet another wrestling clinic in his victory over Lukasz Brzeski just under a month ago.
Landing a dominating eight of his 13 takedown attempts, Williams once again racked up north of 10 minutes of control time en route to an effortless unanimous decision victory.
Giving up some size to the larger Sherman, there is little doubt that wrestling will be Williams’ game plan once again.
Despite the quick turnaround for Williams, this fight presents another layup opportunity for him, especially considering Sherman’s recent form. Entering this scrap, he’s lost eight of his last 10 fights.
Possessing only a puncher’s chance, Sherman’s two wins over that stretch are via knockout. Meanwhile, his biggest weakness over that stretch has been his wrestling/grappling, with six of those eight losses coming via submission or unanimous decision.
Williams has barely even gotten hit in the UFC, and while his style of dominating wrestling can make for some “boring” television, there is no reason to change things up. Look for him to just rack up control time and coast to yet another unanimous decision victory against the struggling Sherman.
The Pick: Karl Williams via decision (+135 at BetRivers)
Billy Ward: Michelle Waterson-Gomez vs. Luana Pinheiro
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 8:55 p.m. ET
When writing up my UFC 287 Luck Ratings last week, I was surprised to find Luana Pinheiro at -165 at some books, with the consensus line around -185. I thought for sure we’d have limited time to act on that – but I was wrong.
She’s somehow still only -165 on DraftKings for her fight against Michelle Waterson-Gomez. Waterson-Gomez is 37, with her only win in the last four years coming via split decision. Pinheiro is 2-0 in the UFC and 10-1 overall as a professional, with her only loss a split decision.
That certainly factors into the calculation here, as Waterson-Gomez could easily be on a five-fight losing skid while Pinheiro could have an unblemished record. It’s not the only reason to favor Pinheiro here, though.
She’s an aggressive striker who likes to swarm her opponents with punches, trusting that her chin can take the best shots the women’s strawweight division has to offer. It’s a risky strategy that I’ll look to fade should she run into a powerful striker, but Waterson-Gomez is not that. She hasn’t won a fight by knockout since 2014, and she’s never scored a knockdown in the UFC.
Pinheiro is also a judo black belt and former national champion, who uses her swarming strikes to close the distance and set up high-impact throws. Both her aggressive striking and flashy throws should play very well to the judges, should they need to be involved here.
That’s especially true against Waterson-Gomez, who tries to keep the fight at range and use her karate kicks to keep opponents at bay. Her low output and minimal damage don’t score many points, and she’s not an especially adept grappler either.
I believe part of the reason this line isn’t longer is due to Pinheiro needing all three rounds against Sam Hughes in her last fight. However, she won 30-27 on two of the judges’ scorecards, and 29-28 on the other. That was also valuable experience for Pinheiro, who had never been past the first round in a win before that point.
The Pick: Luana Pinheiro (-165 at DraftKings)
Dann Stupp: Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya
Senior Editor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 11:55 p.m. ET
When it comes to the UFC 287 main event and the immediate rematch between middleweight champion Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya, I’m a bit torn.
In the lead-up to Saturday, I was leaning toward small favorite Adesanya to finally get his first win over champ Pereira after three losses – two in kickboxing and then the recent UFC title loss. Now, I’m leaning toward Pereira, largely due to all of those narrative reasons that don’t really show up in the stat box or scouting reports.
But regardless of which fighter ultimately wins, I envision this fight lasting a while.
Even if the fighters substantially change up their game plans due to their familiarity with each other, I still don’t expect a quick finish. Both fighters possess power and have rocked each other, but I think their durability continues to hold up for one more go-around. For 3.5 rounds anyway.
And that’s my favorite bet for UFC 287 on Saturday: Pereira vs. Adesanya “over 3.5 rounds.”
Adesanya knows he was on his way to a decision victory before that fifth-round KO loss in the first Pereira meeting. He’s obviously going to be super-diligent about avoiding such a lapse again.
Likewise, Pereira knows this is his title to lose. If it goes to decision, judges traditionally side with the reigning titleholder, either consciously or subconsciously (“gotta beat the champ to be the champ”). Additionally, even if he’s down on the scorecards, Pereira knows another fifth-round miracle is possible.
In other words, both fighters have multiple reasons to employ a bit of a conservative game plan – or at least not feel rushed in the early going. (Adesanya, in fact, has cleared “over 4.5 rounds” in five straight fights.)
All of that leads me to believe we’ll see a fight with sporadic spurts of violence – but also long lulls of inaction as the fighters simply try to grind out rounds and avoid costly mistakes.
Betway offers over 3.5 rounds at -138, which I was able to snatch here in Virginia. But the more widely available DraftKings offers the same bet at -140, and the -150 at Caesars and BetMGM is also playable.
I’d take this pick (which may be listed under “alternate totals” at some sportsbooks) down to -160.
The Pick: Pereira vs. Adesanya over 3.5 rounds (-138 at Betway)
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