The main event will be a middleweight title bout between familiar foes Israel Adesanya (23-1) and Alex Pereira (6-1). Will Adesanya be able to defend his title for the 6th time?
Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira: Facts & Trends
- Adesanya is 23-0 in the middleweight division as a professional MMA fighter.
- Pereira has beaten Adesanya in their prior two meetings, except in kickboxing.
- Adesanya has won 68% of his fights by TKO/KO.
- Pereira has won five out of six times via TKO/KO, averaging 1.31 knockdowns per 15 minutes.
- This is Pereira’s first five-round MMA fight, while Adesanya has gone a full 25 minutes seven times already in his UFC career.
- Adesanya told TMZ last week that he wants to make this a “horror movie” and continued saying, “I want to be the first person he sees when he wakes up.”
UFC 281 is a PPV event on ESPN+. This bout will be the last of the event, following hours of great fights, including a strawweight title fight between Carla Esparza and Zhang Weili and a lightweight title eliminator between Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier.
Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira: Game Info & Odds
- UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden, New York City
- Buy the PPV on ESPN+; the PPV portion of the event starts at 10:00 PM ET.
Israel Adesanya is coming in as the betting favorite, with the odds at -205 in his favor. Pereira is currently the +175 underdog going into this weekend. The over/under is set at 4.5 rounds, with the under being at EVEN odds.
There are a lot of prop bets with great value for both fighters. Adesanya winning by decision is in plus odds. Pereira winning on the judges’ scorecards is at a whopping +600. A KO win for Pereira is at +230, which is a crazy high value for a knockout artist like him.
Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira: Betting Previews
Betting on Adesanya
This is an interesting matchup to bet on this weekend. The narrative leading up to this fight is all about how Pereira is 2-0 against Adesanya. You have to remember that it is a completely different sport.
Adesanya is a true master of MMA striking, especially in an octagon. He will be able to use his movement in a much better way than Pereira. Also, if you go back and watch their two previous fights on YouTube, Adesanya is very successful in both.
It is tough to bet against someone that is 23-0 in the division they are going to fight in. Twenty-three wins, and 15 of those have been TKO/KO finishes, without ever being finished in the octagon.
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Betting on Pereira
Pereira has a few advantages going into this one. He has the power advantage, especially with the four-ounce gloves he gets to wear. Also, he has confidence knowing he can knock Adesanya out.
Pereira has two brutal KOs in the UFC so far, including one in his last bout over the #4 ranked contender in the world. His confidence is sky-high going up against the champion.
He has mahogany-like shins and massive power in his hands. Pereira can put anyone in the world to sleep with one touch of the chin.
There are no injuries reported to the NYSAC. You won’t ever hear about any injuries a fighter has coming into a big fight like this.
For what it’s worth, both men seem to be in great shape and moving very well at the start of fight week in their YouTube content. They look like they will be as close to 100% as you can be after a grueling fight camp.
Adesanya vs Pereira: Picks & Predictions
After a lot of film study and breaking down the multiple ways this fight could go down… you have to go with the champion. Adesanya is bringing Pereira into the sport that he owns, and he is one of the most dominant champions ever.
After a lot of hate from his last few title defenses, Adesanya is going into this fight with a killer mindset and is going to use that edge to go with his usual world-class striking. There are going to be a few instances in this fight we can go back on and see that Adesanya is just on another level.
Of course, Pereira has the great equalizer in his hands, but Adesanya is going to be in the best shape of his life and ready to go to war. Expect this to go into the championship rounds, where Adesanya will be able to break Pereira and maybe even finish him late.
The reason for this pick is simply because of the battle-tested champion and what he has shown in the sport of MMA. He has beaten the best in the world multiple times.
He knows that Pereira is a one-dimensional fighter, and this will be a kickboxing match. There are many more paths to victory for Adesanya this weekend.
Adesanya is a master of movement around the 8-sided cage, and I have a feeling that there will be a lot of work up against the fence where he can really shine. This is also the 10th main event he will be in with the UFC. There are levels to the sport of MMA, and it would be shameful to truly think he will lose this fight.
Again, MMA is the most unpredictable sport in the world, and Pereira has potentially the most power pound-for-pound in the UFC. This will be one of the most intense main events of the year.
Israel Adesanya to win -205. If you are feeling lucky and want to have a lot of value in a pick, go for a prop bet of Adesanya winning by decision; that is the method of victory that seems most plausible.