UFC 281 Main Card Predictions, Odds and Results: Adesanya vs Pereira

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UFC 281 Main Card Predictions, Odds and Results: Adesanya vs Pereira

UFC 281 Main Card Pintsized Background

Alex Pereira left it as late as possible, but ladies and gentlemen, we have our main event! UFC 281 has all the trimmings to offer the card of the year. The UFC Middleweight Championship is up for grabs for the winner of the historic kickboxing rivalry between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira. UFC 281’s entire main card is fire, including names a Strawweight title fight, a striking clinic between Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler, and the last dance for Frankie Edgar.

Where/When is UFC 281 Main Card taking place:
November 12, 2022. Madison Square Garden. New York, United States.

What time does UFC 281 Main Card start:
🇬🇧 UK: 3pm / 🇺🇸 US ET: 10pm

What channel is UFC 281 Main Card on:
🇬🇧 UK: BT Sports / 🇺🇸 US: ESPN+

Pintsized MMA content from the week before:

🚀 Preview: UFC Vegas 64 Predictions, Odds and Results: Rodriguez vs Lemos
💰 PI’s Recommended Fight: Polyana Viana vs Jinh Yu Frey

Travel down the Pintsized rabbit hole:

🥊 UFC 281 Full Card | 🌟 UFC 281 Prelims | 📺 YouTube

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UFC 281 Main Card Picks & Odds

UFC 281 Main Card OddsUFC 281 Main Card Predictions
Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira Prediction:
(-210) / (+180)
Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira Prediction:
Adesanya Decision
Carla Esparza vs Weili Zhang Prediction:
(+130) / (-150)
Carla Esparza vs Weili Zhang Prediction:
Zhang TKO Round 4
Dustin Poirier vs Michael Chandler Prediction:
(-200) / (+170)
Dustin Poirier vs Michael Chandler Prediction:
Poirier TKO Round 3
Frankie Edgar vs Chris Gutierrez Prediction:
(+185) / (-215)
Frankie Edgar vs Chris Gutierrez Prediction:
Edgar Decision
Dan Hooker vs Claudio Puelles Prediction:
(-145) / (+125)
Dan Hooker vs Claudio Puelles Prediction:
Hooker TKO Round 1
Odds are based on BestFightOdds.com. All odds of 09 November 2022.

UFC 281: Main Event

Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira

Middleweight (185)

UFC Middleweight Championship

Israel Adesanya (23-1)

I’d hate to remind all of you fine folks, but Israel Adesanya is one of the UFC’s longest-reigning champions for a reason. The Stylebender is a phenomenally composed striker and consummate game planner. Adesanya has conquered wrestlers (Derek Brunson, Marvin Vettori x2), strikers (Paulo Costa, Jared Cannonier) and everything in between (Sir Bobert Knuckles).

The twist, however, is Adesanya is set to face his boogeyman. Alex Pereira holds two victories over Adesanya, including a knockout reel that has plagued Izzy on social media over his entire career. For all the corny one-liners and posturing in press conferences, Adesanya can be rattled – will the ghosts of the past influence Adesanya’s approach?

Probably not, no. Adesanya’s wrestling is certainly an underrated aspect of his kit, but it is largely defensive strength. Rather, Adesanya could cause Pereira some trouble in the clinch – an area in that we have seen the Kiwi’s success against Kelvin Gastellum. Pereira is a different physical hurdle to handle in the clinch, considering his size, but he was also dominated by Andreas Michailidis.

Alex Pereira (6-1)

Even though we all expected the UFC to tailor a path for Pereira towards the title, it was still an impressive streak for Poatan’s shot at Adesanya. Despite all the memes, Strickland’s pressure has proven far too much for experienced Middleweights like Jack Hermansson and Uriah Hall. Pereira, however, comfortably feinted off the back foot before finding his killer one-shot left hook.

Once again, we cannot overlook the five minutes of ease with which Michailidis pinned Pereira to the cage. Adesanya is deeply defensive of his belt and is willing to win by any means necessary. Fan’s collective PTSD from the Adesanya-Romero title fight should be a sobering enough reminder. Don’t be surprised if we see a low-volume stand-off in the opening rounds before Adesanya grinds out a stinker.

To return to a more positive note, Pereira’s hands are pure granite. There is the occasional flourish of dynamism to his striking i.e. the flying knee that iced Michailidis. The bread and butter of his arsenal is the left hook. Masked behind his feints and impossible to gauge due to the length of his arms, even a defensive savant such as Adesanya should steer clear of Pereira’s left hook.

Adesanya vs Pereira Prediction: Adesanya Decision

Adesanya finally faces his boogeyman. Alex Pereira holds two victories over Adesanya, including a knockout reel that has plagued Izzy on social media over his entire career. For a champion so defensive of his belt and such a consummate game planner, don’t be surprised if Adesanya swallows the boos to grind Pereira against the cage. Andreas Michailidis dominated Poatan for an entire round in the clinch, after all.

Not to write off Adesanya controlling the striking affair, either. Pereira owns a monster left and a freakishly long frame, but he does leave his mid-rift open. Considering Adesanya’s arsenal of range weapons, the Kiwi has a shot at nullifying Poatan throughout 25-minutes. It does seem a little foolish, however, to roll those dice against an opponent who has proven to own one-shot KO power over you.

This isn’t a shut-and-closed case. Adesanya will have to dig very deep to work around Pereira’s nuclear-left hook. I just feel like the variety that Adesanya offers will ask questions about Pereira’s gas tank that is yet to be proven in the sphere of MMA.

Amateur psychologists – reveal how Israel Adesanya has already mentally lost at the face-offs!

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UFC 281: Co-Main Event

Carla Esparza vs Weili Zhang

Women’s Strawweight (115)

UFC Strawweight Championship

Carla Esparza (19-6)

Not feeling this fight. While it was pleasing to see Carla Esparza clinch the UFC title once again, it resulted from a fight with Rose Namajunas that I refuse to watch again. A relentless chain wrestler, Esparza found almost no success on the mat against Thug Rose yet won based on intent/ activity. A failed wrestling approach won’t work against Zhang considering her rare freak power in the division.

Weili Zhang (22-3)

For a fighter who earned her name en route to the Strawweight title by delivering violence on the feet, Zhang has largely fallen onto her wrestling to win. Esparza is the best technical wrestler in the division, but Zhang is a physical beast. Zhang has been pinned to the mat in the past, suggesting Esparza could claim an entire round of control time. Magnum doesn’t fade late into fights, however, and has a vast advantage on the feet if/when Esparza’s takedowns stop firing.

Esparza vs Zhang Prediction: Zhang TKO Round 4

A relentless chain wrestler, Esparza found almost no success on the mat against Thug Rose yet won based on intent/ activity. Cookie Monster remains the best technical wrestler in the division, however, and is primed to claim entire rounds of control time against Zhang. Two issues are Zhang’s freak physicality and ability to catch a second wind. At a certain point, Zhang will make the most of her vast advantage on the feet once Esparza’s takedowns stop firing.

Don’t be surprised to watch Esparza 50-45 Zhang!

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UFC 281: Main Card

Dustin Poirier vs Michael Chandler

Lightweight (155)

Dustin Poirier (28-7)

How can a fighter KO Conor McGregor back-to-back and still fail to emerge as a superstar? Poirier is deemed a heavy favourite off the cuff against Chandler as the former is a proven late-round threat. In the first layer of striking exchanges, Chandler’s power and speed will beat Poirier to the punch. The Diamond is durable, however, and excels when extending combinations in the pocket. Moreover, Poirier’s awkward cross-guard will cause Chandler headaches once he starts to slow.

Michael Chandler (23-7)

Chandler’s aims remain firmly set on the UFC crown. Beating the 2022-version of Tony Ferguson isn’t all that impressive, but knocking T-Ferg out does underline Chandler’s ferocious power. If Chandler operates off the back foot, he could punish The Diamond on the counter. There is also the wrestling angle, but there is a reason Iron Mike rarely shoots for takedowns these days – the gas tank just ain’t up for it, chief.

Poirier vs Chandler Prediction: Poirier TKO Round 3

Chandler’s early round threat on the feet has the possibility to catch Poirier cold. The speed and power differential in the first round will be stark, but it isn’t the safest route to back. Rather, Poirier’s awkward cross-guard will create headaches for Chandler alongside a deep gas tank that will punish a notorious fader. Lest we forget Iron Mike’s wrestling avenue, but once he finds early success on the feet he will chase the finish.

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Frankie Edgar vs Chris Gutierrez

Bantamweight (135)

Frankie Edgar (24-10-1)

Can Frankie Edgar snap his 2-loss streak with a victorious retirement? The former Lightweight champion has seen his chin and physical gifts fall off a cliff. Two worrying red flags for a fighter that now leans more heavily on wrestling for a safe victory. If he chases a similar game plan as the Marlon Vera fight, Edgar has a shout. The veteran can maintain a decent pace that could keep Gutierrez restricted, who lacks the dynamism to produce a Vera-esque front kick.

Chris Gutierrez (18-3-2)

Man, Chris Gutierrez is a big ask for a declining 41-year-old. El Guapo is a ferocious leg kicker, opening the avenue for an Edgar takedown but more likely to continually punish the veteran’s jab. Gutierrez has been pinned to the mat before; the 31-year-old struggled against Cody Durden’s relentless takedown attempts and Raoni Barcelos’ technical top game. My heart demands me to back Frankie for one last hurrah, but this is a cruel sport that offers no respite for faded veterans.

Edgar vs Gutierrez Prediction: Edgar Decision

The former Lightweight champion has seen his chin and physical gifts fall off a cliff. Two worrying red flags for a fighter that now leans more heavily on wrestling for a safe victory. Gutierrez has been pinned to the mat before; the 31-year-old struggled against Cody Durden’s relentless takedown attempts and Raoni Barcelos’ technical top game. We will most likely see Gutierrez tear apart Edgar’s lead leg. Still, I’m going with my heart and backing Edgar for one last hurrah.

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Dan Hooker vs Claudio Puelles

Featherweight (145)

Dan Hooker (21-12)

With just the decision victory over Nasrat Haqparast to split four losses in his last five fights, Dan Hooker may be starting to regress. On the one hand, Hooker is fighting the top names in the division and often on late notice. On the other, Hooker’s style has caused him to eat a great deal of damage – both in camp and in the octagon. A big step-down in competition is the best litmus test for Hooker’s future, however. Puelles is incapable of applying pressure on the feet like Arnold Allen, nor does he own the wrestling kit to impose his grappling.

Claudio Puelles (12-2)

/It seems like there should be far more fanfare for a random Peruvian that has consecutive kneebars over veterans. Granted, Puelles was battered black and blue for almost three rounds by Chris Gruetzemacher before pulling off the hail mary submission. Such a lethal dynamism can never be written off against a hot-headed, risk-taker in Hooker. This fight seems destined to stay on the feet, however, and should see the Kiwi blast Puelles to the shadow realm./

Hooker vs Puelles Prediction: Hooker TKO Round 1

A big step-down in competition is the best litmus test for Hooker’s future. Puelles is a dynamic submission artist, consecutive kneebars prove this. Unfortunately for the Peruvian, he lacks the wrestling tools needed to create his preferred fight on the mat. This fight seems destined to stay on the feet and see the Kiwi blast Puelles to the shadow realm.

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Pintsized Interests is just a baby finding its first steps in the big, bad world of sports journalism. If you enjoy the content that is regularly uploaded then please consider donating via the link below. Any amount is greatly appreciated, and will go towards ensuring the survival of Pintsized Interests in the long-term.


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