Repeat or revenge is one of the oldest narratives in combat sports. As fans we love a rematch and this week’s UFC 287 extravaganza offers up a doozy. ‘The Last Stylebender’ Israel Adesanya tries to regain his UFC Middleweight Championship from the man who defeated him for it, Alex Pereira.
Technically this is the fourth professional fight between the pair. They have had one meeting in MMA, with Pereira triumphing via fifth-round knockout at UFC 281. But the two have also contested two kickboxing match-ups. Pereira won both, one by decision and one by knockout.
If this seems like a one-dimensional basis for a rivalry, it is offset somewhat by Adesanya’s status as one of the UFC’s standout performers of the last decade. A simply supernatural performer, Pereira is the only man ever to beat him at middleweight. He’ll have to work hard to get past Adesanya again, no matter what happens.
The rest of the card has plenty to recommend it, not least a stunning co-main event between Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal. A headline-level attraction on any other night, this welter belter is sure to be exciting.
It could be the last chance saloon for Masvidal. Despite being one of the most popular members of the roster, a fourth consecutive defeat would surely put his UFC status at risk. Meanwhile, Burns is fifth in the divisional rankings. A good showing here could catapult him back into title contention.
Here’s the full rundown ahead of a cracking card of Octagon action.
Where: Miami-Dade Arena, Miami, Florida, United States
When: Saturday 8th April, (1am Sunday UK time)
How To Watch: BT Sport 1HD
Tale Of The Tape:
Place Of Birth: Sao Bernardo do Campo, Sao Paolo, Brazil
Last Fight: Pereira stopped the same opponent, Israel Adesanya, in five rounds back at UFC 281.
Place Of Birth: Lago, Nigeria
Residence: Auckland, New Zealand
Alias: The Last Stylebender
Last Fight: The two men share a previous outing, with Pereira’s title victory coming at the expense of long-time champion Adesanya.
Full Fight Card:
Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya
Gilbert Burns vs. Jorge Masvidal
Rob Font vs. Adrian Yanez
Kevin Holland vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Christian Rodriguez
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Chris Curtis
Michelle Waterson vs. Luana Pinheiro
Chris Barnett vs. Chase Sherman
Early preliminary card
Gerald Meerschaert vs. Joe Pyfer
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Lupita Godinez
Ignacio Bahamondes vs. Trey Ogden
Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs. Steve Garcia
Jacqueline Amorim vs. Sam Hughes
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change