UFC 287 Pereira vs. Adesanya 2 Betting Tips: Preview and predictions for Miami rematch
Miami is the next stop on the UFC roadshow, playing host to a middleweight rematch between old foes Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya.
The Brazilian defends his belt for the first time since snatching gold from "The Last Stylebender"'s hands via fifth-round stoppage at UFC 281 back in November.
Fight fans are in for another entertaining fight over Easter weekend, and the best place to start your preparations is by browsing our betting lowdown for the headliner down below...
This fight is interesting for a lot of different reasons, but none more than to see whether Izzy can finally overcome his demons. After Saturday's contest, Adesanya will remarkably have fought in 10 UFC title fights in the last four years. But the victory to forever elude him has been over Alex Pereira.
First in kickboxing and now over in MMA, "Poatan" boasts three wins over his adversary. Having followed Adesanya into mixed martial arts and also into the UFC, the 35-year-old is proving to be the problem that Izzy just cannot shake.
However this weekend's fourth meeting plays out, it feels as though this rivalry has run its course; at least for now. Given his size, Alex's middleweight career is finite. The belt holder is said to have started his weight cut two weeks before the fight, which all but suggests he is destined to move up to light heavyweight, and might even be a natural heavyweight at some point in the future.
For Izzy, new challenges may await him elsewhere whether he is victorious or not. The former Middleweight Champion already ran his way through this division before Poatan arrived, and could follow a similar path up to light heavyweight should it take his fancy.
UFC 287 Pereira vs Adesanya II Tips
It's impossible for us to shake the idea that Pereira has Izzy's number. As they say, styles make fights. And Adesanya's calculated tactics don't seem to be a match for Poatan's devastating power punching.
Striking was relatively even between the two in their last fight before Pereira levelled up in the fifth and stopped his opponent on the feet. And for those who had wished to have seen that go a little bit longer, there's every reason to believe we'll get a more decisive finish this time around.
Alex isn't nearly as polished as Izzy, but his sometimes flawed technique and any other shortcomings are overruled by his destructive power. For as skilled and as slick as Adesanya is, he has to be perfect for 25 minutes. Despite how close he got to achieving that in November, he fell just shy and paid the ultimate price.
That's why Pereira's underdog status proves too tantalising. His ability to land with one punch and change the course of a fight is starkly contrasted with Izzy's accumulative approach that relies heavily on volume and output. For every punch that Pereira lands, Izzy needs to return two or three himself to do the same sort of damage.
The difference we can expect in this fight from the earlier meeting is more grappling. The one who makes this more of a mixed martial arts contest stands the best chance of winning. Although that first fight pitted Israel's weak clinching skills against Pereira's poor takedown defence, the latter's size and strength negated almost all of the former's attempts.
Having Glover Teixeira in his corner also lends weight to the idea that Poatan will utilise more ground and pound on Saturday. Alex's imperfect takedown over Izzy was achieved through sheer intention, and that offers a lot of support to holding the physiological deficit over Adesanya in their second contest.
Strikes from top position can be just as effective as they are from standing. So while Izzy is clearly the more technical of the two, Pereira can inflict more damage without exuding as much energy. There's a real patience that comes with Pereira's style, and that first round of the last fight was very telling. Izzy was able to move and slip and roll, but Pereira didn't seem too determined to connect.
Pereira's road to victory lies with finishing Adesanya in unruly fashion. Giving Izzy something else to think about when it comes to takedowns means Pereira can add an extra string to his bow, and leaves the 11/5 on offer for a KO/TKO win too good to refuse.
Those who like something at a larger price will enjoy this 10/1 shot for Alex Pereira to win in round two.
The pair must be sick of the sight of one another at this point. Which means there's a good chance Pereira comes flying out of the blocks and tries to get Adesanya out of there within a couple of rounds.
Poatan entered the UFC with a lot of uncertainties hanging over him: he is now fighting in a cage with more space where he can't trap opponents in the corners as easily. MMA also uses smaller gloves than kickboxing and opponents aren't as easy to hit. That being said, those doubts will no longer be present after having knocked out his long-time dance partner again.
Pereira gave The Last Stylebender a lot of respect in November, but don't expect the same again on Saturday. Adesanya's skillset has been crafted to mixed martial arts, however, that doesn't mean a whole lot when the Brazilian knows conclusively what he can do to him with his fists. We're likely to see a much more aggressive, close range version of Pereira whose 85% UFC KO ratio is a great intimidation tactic to hold over any opponent.
His advantage will be in squeezing Izzy up against the fence and getting him to that choke point where he either has to go left, right or level change. If you're Alex Pereira, you can then think through your options, whether that's left or right hooks, knees up the centre or even potentially level changes himself.
Adesanya can overcome this challenge by working harder to make Alex's weight cut a problem for him in those championship rounds. But that is only possible if he puts himself in harm's way through persistent wrestling which provides more dimension to Pereira finishing him early on.