The saga continues.
Alex Pereira (7-1, 4-0 UFC) is set to make his first UFC title defense at UFC 287 on April 8 against Israel Adesanya (23-2, 12-2 UFC), the man he took the strap from a few months ago.
There were rumblings about Pereira, who is now 3-0 vs Adesanya (two wins in kickboxing), moving up to light heavyweight at some point, but he’ll first have to defend his 185-pound belt against one of the best middleweights in company history.
In this rematch following Pereira’s knockout win at UFC 281, the challenger Adesanya is a -138 favorite. “Poatan” comes in at +110.
Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya 2 Odds
Odds as of March 27
Our odds calculator tells us Adesanya’s -138 status is equivalent to an implied win probability of 57.98 percent. As the +110 underdog, Pereira has an implied win probability of 47.62 percent. A successful $10 bet on the challenger would pay out $17.25, while the same bet on the champion pays out $21.
Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya 2 Betting Odds Analysis
The disrespect is real for Pereira, who closed the UFC 281 bout as a +180 underdog. Now, as the champion, he remains the dog, just by a slighter margin.
We’ve seen the Brazilian defeat Izzy three times now, but their last bout was a butt-whupping in Adesanya’s favor until the final few minutes. Pereira never lost his energy and tagged Adesanya in the dying minutes of the fifth round for a come-from-behind upset.
The second UFC bout has Izzy favored at -138 – after all, he’s the more complete martial artist – but don’t be surprised if the line, which had Adesanya at -160 earlier, keeps moving in Pereira’s favor as we inch closer to UFC 287.
Pereira vs Adesanya 2 Preview: Izzy Must Wrestle
In the last fight, Adesanya found a path to victory via takedowns or wrestling in the second and third rounds. “The Last Stylebender” dragged Pereira to the canvas, and the Brazilian had literally no clue how to stand up. As Izzy got his arms wrapped around him and pressured him, Pereira tried to manhandle himself to his feet, pushing with all his might and tiring himself in the process.
Adesanya needs to remember those exchanges for the rematch. He can’t stand with Pereira in a kickboxing match – he’s lost three times now – so he needs to get on the mat and make it an ugly fight. Clinches, trips and ground and pound should all be part of Izzy’s weapon wheel this time around.
Don’t Let Pereira Off The Hook
It seemed, for a few moments during the UFC 281 fight, that Adesanya felt too comfortable. He’d cleaned out the middleweight division, and few fighters posed much of a threat. Naturally, when Adesanya landed combos on Pereira (especially in the first round), he didn’t fly in for the kill. Part of that is due to Pereira’s terrifying punching power, but Adesanya has enough length and striking savvy to knock the Brazilian out cold.
Pereira is a standard kickboxer – he stands up very tall with his guard high and elbows tucked tight. Izzy is famous for spinning strikes, question-mark kicks and punishing shots to the body. We need to see more creativity – take some risks, dammit – if he wants to dethrone Pereira and grab his UFC gold again.
Pereira vs Adesanya 2 Betting Pick
I’m super stoked for this rematch, and, like last time, I expect it to be a very closely contested fight. If both guys still didn’t have a feel for each other before, now they do. With four UFC fights under his belt, Pereira is better adjusted to the pace of MMA, and Izzy, being the smart fighter he is, will close any holes in his game.
All told, I think this fight will go to a decision, though I’m comfortable wagering OVER 3.5 rounds and OVER 4.5 rounds to not get too greedy. For the winner, I’m taking Pereira based on a combo of winning experience vs Adesanya and underdog value.
Pick: Pereira to win (+110); OVER 3.5 Rounds (TBD)
While you’re here, check out our other UFC 287 main card previews:
UFC 287: Full Card & Betting Odds
Odds as of March 31
When is Adesanya vs Pereira 2?
Israel Adesanya fights Alex Pereira for the second time at UFC 287 on April 8 in Miami, Florida.
Who knocked out Israel Adesanya?
Alex Pereira beat Israel Adesanya by TKO at UFC 281 to become UFC middleweight champion. The Brazilian has now defeated Adesanya three times (2 KO, 1 DEC) in martial arts dating back to the pair's rivalry in Glory Kickboxing.