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UFC 287 Predictions: Pereira vs Adesanya 2

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Step right up, step right up – hot off the presses – the latest UFC 287 Predictions are ready for your viewing. One of the biggest UFC headliners of the year sees Israel Adesanya attempt to reclaim his Middleweight crown from his boogeyman, Alex Pereira. To add to the buzz, the UFC is marking just their second visit to Miami, having last held an event in The Magic City back in April 2003 with UFC 42.

The championship headliner needs sparse introduction. Adesanya and Pereira’s first encounter in the cage at UFC 281 was a five-round spectacle that saw Pereira capture the title in the dying minutes. Their rivalry extends well before then, however. The pair had built up bad blood over two previous kickboxing matches – both won by Pereira. Jorge Masvidal features on a co-main banger with Gilbert Burns but it has seemingly flown under the radar.

Meanwhile, down on the UFC 287 Prelims, walking-fridge Kelvin Gastelum puts his career on the line against Chris Curtis. Three Women Strawweight fights of immeasurable mediocrity pad out the numbers too, ensuring a diluted experience for viewers. Read on as we analyse and breakdown all the fights on UFC 287. Don’t miss the best analysis and picks for the UFC, find all our work at MMA predictions.

Where is UFC 287 taking place?

The event will take place at the Miami-Dade Arena in Miami, United States, on April 8, 2023.

What time does UFC 287 start?

The UFC 287 Main Event is scheduled to start at 10PM ET in the US and 3AM GMT in the UK.
The UFC 287 Prelims are scheduled to start at 8PM ET in the US and 1AM GMT in the UK.
The UFC 287 Early Prelims are scheduled to start at 6PM ET in the US and 11PM GMT in the UK.

Where can I watch UFC 287?

The UFC 287 PPV can be streamed on ESPN+ in the US and BT Sport in the UK. You are advised to use official streams for UFC 287 and avoid buffstreams, crackstreams or Reddit streams.

UFC 287: Main Event

Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya 2

In a battle between two of the most technical strikers in the Middleweight division, the emergence of Israel Nurmagomedov may throw a spanner in the works. After Alex Pereira secured a shock takedown in the second round, Adesanya dominated on the mat with almost four minutes of control time in round three. The Last Stylebender is best known for his buttery counter-striking but desperate times call for desperate measures. Even Adesanya, a man harbouring an immense ego, will have to concede that a safer grappling-first gameplan is the easiest path to victory.

That isn’t to say that the Kiwi didn’t enjoy considerable success on the feet. The 33-year-old rocked Pereira in the first round before the bell saved the Brazilian. Moreover, Pereira failed to read Izzy’s step-in jab and so regularly ate his straight right. Adesanya was compromised in the later rounds too, as a result of Pereira’s solid checks. If the former champ better masks his kicks, he will be better prepared to control the championship rounds.

Of course, this is all irrelevant if Pereira is capable of landing his left hook once again. The Brazilian is a pressure machine that can wear down on the deepest of gas tanks. Pereira’s natural one-shot power can never be written off – nor his exceptional shot selection. Even so, it is difficult to back a fighter with such little MMA experience. The old adage of ‘styles make fights’ is a fair argument, but Adesanya’s grappling cannot be overlooked.

Pereira vs Adesanya Prediction: Adesanya Submission Round 3


Gilbert Burns vs Jorge Masvidal

It has been nearly four years since Jorge Masvidal last won a fight in the octagon. The two-time title Welterweight challenger has fallen from grace since being crowned the BMF by The Rock. Despite it all, the 38-year-old remains a crafty veteran with a bag of tricks on the feet. Gamebred works combinations to the body and head, positions himself smartly in the octagon and is sharp enough to counter Burns’ naked entries.

Gilbert Burns is a flawed fighter that has seen his strengths paper over his weaknesses at the top of the chain. A violently powerful puncher, Burns operates more as a gruelling slugger than a technical maestro. Against an ageing veteran, it is a style that could pay dividends. A major key to Burns’ victory will be his success in mixing in takedowns. The Brazilian is a wonderful submission artist but has struggled with taking opponents to the mat – evidenced by his career 35% TD accuracy.

Burns vs Masvidal Prediction: Burns Decision

UFC 287: Main Card

Rob Font vs Adrian Yanez

I don’t want to see any fair-weather Font fans crawling out of the woodwork post-Saturday night. The 35-year-old may have been battered black and blue by Jose Aldo and Marlon Vera – but he still enjoyed pockets of success. Font owns a phenomenal jab, a vital weapon against Adrian Yanez after considering the distress caused by the limited Randy Costa.

Yanez’s natural power could be the tipping point in exchanges, though – following the same formula as Aldo/Vera. The Texan is a fighter that prefers to set up his combination work behind straight shots, however. Over just three rounds, Font should outwork Yanez before the puzzle can be cracked. Knockdowns swinging the rounds can never be written off in a Font fight, though.

Font vs Yanez Prediction: Font Decision

Kevin Holland vs Santiago Ponzinibbio

A potential FOTN looms large on two of the forgotten men at Welterweight. Kevin Holland retired after the Khamzat Chimaev debacle, only to return for a four-round arsewhooping to a resurgent Stephen Thompson. Never before in his career has Holland been so hopelessly picked apart on the feet. The long counterpuncher remains a creative, dynamic striker although his mental now has to be questioned.

The Argentine Dagger, Santiago Ponzinibbio, has struggled since his return from injury in 2021. Convincing wins over Miguel Baeza are scattered amongst losses to Jingliang Li, Geoff Neal and Michel Pereira. Ponzinibbio has struggled to adapt his style to his waning athleticism and is reliant upon the knockout power he carries in both hands. Surprisingly, Holland also has to be favoured on the mat – an edge that may swing this close-knit affair.

Holland vs Ponzinibbio Prediction: Holland Decision

Raul Rosas Jr vs Christian Rodriguez

The UFC’s youngest fighter to earn a victory, Raul Rosas Jr, returns just four months on from his record-breaking submission win over Jay Perrin. At just 18 years old, Rosas Jr has all the hallmarks of a star in the making. Match-makers will have to play a key role in bleeding in their prospect, athletically capped at his young age. The Mexican Bantamweight is still learning how to use his reach effectively on the feet. But, as seen last time out, Rosas Jr is viperlike in his pursuit of submissions.

Owner of a 1-1 UFC record, Christian Rodriguez has been drafted in as the fall guy to Dana White’s future cash cow. The Wisconsin fighter looks to sit down heavily on his shots and box within the pocket. Such heavy feet will open up immediate takedown avenues for Rosas Jr to exploit. Rodriguez’s grappling defence has improved but not to the extent that he can survive for extended periods off his back.

Rosas Jr vs Rodriguez Prediction: Rosas Jr Submission Round 2

UFC 287: Preliminary Card

Kelvin Gastelum vs Chris Curtis

Returning after a nigh two-year layoff, Kelvin Gastelum returns as a (fingers crossed) changed fighter. Head-scratching defeats to Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier saw Gastelum struggle to maintain a consistent output on the feet. The 31-year-old’s dynamite power appears to have been smoke and mirrors – making a mark early in his career against ageing veterans like Michael Bisping and Jake Ellenberger.

Chris Curtis’ savvy experience on the feet and composure countering in the pocket will prove a deadly combination if Gastelum opts to stay standing. Curtis may own a perfect 100% TDD so far in the UFC, but Gastelum’s granite chin and surprising burst of speed could break that record. Perhaps most amusing would be to see Gastelum overcome his 4″ reach disadvantage and jab Curtis’ head off in the same manner as Jack Hermasson.

Gastelum vs Curtis Prediction: Curtis Decision

Michelle Waterson-Gomez vs Luana Pinheiro

Initially, this felt very much like a fight that only Luana Pinheiro could lose. The Brazilian is younger, sharper and the superior takedown artist who can overpower her smaller, ageing opponent. Despite all the memes around of Michelle Waterson-Gomez punching thin air, the Karate Hottie is a well-rounded, intelligent veteran. Moreover, Waterson-Gomez’s 1-4 record in her last five fights is deceiving – coming against ferocious competition like Amanda Lemos, Carla Esparza and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Although I expect Pinheiro’s power to stamp her mark on the rounds, Waterson-Gomez’s surprisingly effective clinch striking could cause an upset.

Waterson-Gomez vs Pinheiro Prediction: Pinheiro Decision

Gerald Meerschaert vs Joseph Pyfer

Submission specialist, Gerald Meerschaert, will enjoy a clear advantage on the mat against the inexperienced Joseph Pyfer. Meerschaert continues to dig deep in his twilight to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat – a trend that ensures his longevity as the esteemed Middleweight gatekeeper. GM3’s hands have been polished over the past few years but he would be well advised to avoid extended periods of striking with Pyfer’s heavy hands. Bodybagz needed just four minutes to spark out Alen Amedovski in his POTN debut last September.

Meerschaert vs Pyfer Prediction: Meerschaert Submission Round 2

Karl Williams vs Chase Sherman

Karl Williams, a short-notice replacement for Chris Barnett, will look to pick up his sixth win in a row. Williams fought just three weeks ago, dominating Lukasz Brzeski across three rounds on the mat – landing eight takedowns and racking up over ten minutes of control time. The US Virgins Island native will have to deal with the firepower of Heavyweight veteran, Chase Sherman. The Vanilla Gorilla has won just once in his past six fights, a late KO over the limited Jared Vanderaa that did little to inspire hope of future success. Sherman has struggled to pace himself in contests, keep himself standing and impose his size in any area of the fight. Expecting Williams to have free reign on the mat over Sherman.

Williams vs Sherman Prediction: Williams TKO Round 1

UFC 287: Early Prelims

Cynthia Calvillo vs Lupita Godinez

Sitting on a four-fight slide at Flyweight, Calvillo has made the jump back to Strawweight in an attempt to reignite her UFC career. The 35-year-old is a solid grappler who has failed to apply a realistic game plan against larger, more effective opponents at 125 lbs. I have zero expectations of Calvillo opting to grapple. Yet, it is unlikely to matter, as Loopy Godinez will force the fight to the mat eventually. Godinez is vastly undersized, even for Strawweight, but is willing to set a hard pace that tends to earn her favour on the scorecards. A coinflip fight between a potentially broken veteran and an undersized, technically limited prospect.

Calvillo vs Godinez Prediction: Godinez Decision

Trey Ogden vs Ignacio Bahamondes

Trey Ogden is a strong wrestler and grappler, but he has hardly sold himself as a ‘must watch’ fighter to fans. Unfortunately, it is likely a lack of pop in the Samurai Ghost’s hands that stops him from climbing the ladder. For as well-rounded the American’s skillset is, he lacks the one-shot power to paper over his inconsistent output on the feet. Chilean, Ignacio Bahamondes, is no stranger to knockouts, however. The 25-year-old will brashly walk into shots to land his work, as well as operating a long kicking game that earned him a stunning wheel kick KO over Roosevelt Roberts. There are question marks over La Jaula’s TDD against stronger opponents, but his submission threat could leave Ogden suffering a career third loss via guillotine choke.

Ogden vs Bahamondes Prediction: Bahamondes Submission Round 1

Steve Garcia vs Shayilan Nuerdanbieke

A Featherweight clash that is highly unlikely to reach the final bell. Steve Garcia broke a fair few parlays when he humiliated Chase Hooper on the feet in under two minutes. The New Mexican has no time for defence, dropping both hands and charging forward with powerful overhands. It is enjoyable and effective work against limited strikers, but Shayilan Nuerdanbieke is an experienced counter-puncher. The plus athlete, who hails from China, should also be able to keep himself standing and away from Garcia’s powerful G’n’P. Nuerdanbieke vast experience largely stems from the poor Asian regional scene, but Garcia isn’t nuanced enough to catch Wolverine by surprise.

Garcia vs Nuerdanbieke Prediction: Nuerdanbieke TKO Round 1

Sam Hughes vs Jaqueline Amorim

Undefeated newcomer, Jaqueline Amorim, enters her UFC debut with deserved hype as the former IBJFF world champion and LFA Strawweight Champion. Amorim has burnt through the professional ranks since starting in 2020, picking up a perfect six wins, all via first-round finishes. Sam Hughes must keep herself standing against Amorim – a tough ask for a fighter who hit the mat five times in her last outing. The former track athlete is a durable cookie, though. A kind introduction for Amorim into the UFC.

Hughes vs Amorim Prediction: Amorim Submission Round 1

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