Ahead of UFC 281: Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira, we take a look at the odds, and predictions for the main card

One of the most anticipated PPV events of the 2022 calendar is just a few days away. The main event features a middleweight clash between current champion Israel Adesanya and kickboxing nemesis Alex Pereira. The stacked card has two title fights, and features some edge-of-the-seat fights between some of the most exciting talents in the sport and some of the most established names in the game.

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UFC 281 predictions: Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira fight preview 2

Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira

After Brazilian kickboxer Alex Pereira joined the UFC, the storyline for a matchup with middleweight champion Israel Adesanya appeared to be taking shape. The style of Pereira, the former number-one kickboxer in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, is the antidote to Adesanya’s rampant run according to many inside the MMA community.

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya holds an unwavering view that he’s the best middleweight on the planet, and his record speaks for itself. He has been on a rampant run, wiping out almost the entire division.

Poatan” defeated Adesanya twice in kickboxing, winning a 2016 decision in China, and landed a left hook for a vicious, memorable knockout in their rematch, the following year in Brazil. Currently, with just one fight old in the UFC, Adesanya has dismissed talks of the fight in the near future, labelling it as ‘a bit premature.’ Adesanya even said in the past that his loss came because he got too comfortable in the boxing range, and he is a much more transformed fighter.

Israel Adesanya has been reigning supreme in the UFC middleweight division. He has not only built a credible body of work inside the octagon, but also emerged as one of the biggest superstars in the game right now, and the second-highest-paid fighter in the UFC. With a visible lack of viable options, he is most likely to square up against Jared Cannonier, in the quest for his fifth title defense.

Brazilian kickboxing phenom, Alex Pereira encountered Adesanya twice in the kickboxing terrain, and emerged victorious twice. Pereira’s first encounter with Adesanya came in April 2016 at Glory of Heroes 1. ‘Poatan’ outperformed Adesanya to earn a unanimous decision victory after three rounds.

A year later, the competitors met again – at Glory of Heroes 15. The rematch proved to be a more decisive win for Pereira. After some initial success inside boxing range for Adesanya, the ‘Stylebender’ fearlessly stepped inside Pereira’s range continually. Pereria landed a perfectly calculated left hook, as soon as Adesanya moved inside range after landing the left high-kick, which knocked him out cold.

Alex faced his biggest test so far in MMA against Sean Strickland, and passed with flying colors. While Strickland decided to keep the fight in boxing range worried by Poatan’s kicks, the Brazilian landed a vicious left hook faking a level change. With this victory, he is well in the conversation to fight Adesanya for the title.

It is almost impossible for fighters to figure out the puzzle that is Izzy, who is revolutionizing the striking game inside the UFC, one fight at a time. In a sport that is evolving every day, ‘Izzy’ has changed the way we perceive striking through his laser-sharp precision punches, exceptional footwork and seemingly unintelligible defense.

Izzy has successfully set in motion and established the feint game which was unique when MMA textbook striking is taken into consideration. He draws reactions out of his opponents through subtle movements and in doing so computes the data and launches his range of attacks. His path to victory would be to keep the fight in his desired range, stay outside of the pocket, and not get caught because Cannonier does possess some bombs in his hands.

Although it hasn’t been a long time since Alex Pereira transitioned into MMA, he has definitely grabbed the limelight by emerging as a viable threat to Adesanya’s title reign. He is a seasoned kickboxer and trains with Glover Teixeira, an elite grappler to hone his ground skills. By the looks of it, Pereira seems to be in the right hands, and has developed a championship mentality.

Odds: Israel Adesanya -170 [favorite] vs. Alex Pereira +145

Our Prediction:

Although Adesanya doesn’t seem like the kind to dwell on past defeats, the knockout loss in particular must have had a negative effect on his career. Adesanya should approach the battle with a polished strategy after facing his prior demons.

Contrarily, Pereira has a big advantage against Izzy in terms of reach, expertise, and perhaps even MMA community support in light of Izzy’s performance at UFC 276. The Brazilian will undoubtedly be the champion’s hardest challenge to yet, regardless of whether he manages the victory.

Having said that, we believe Adesanya’s heap of experience inside the octagon will help him overcome his Brazilian rival and settle this rivalry once and for all.

Preliminary Card Odds

(Lightweight) Brad Riddell +105 vs. Renato Moicano -125

(Light heavyweight) Dominick Reyes -215 vs. Ryan Spann +185

(Women’s Flyweight) Erin Blanchfield -390 vs. Molly McCann +320

(Middleweight) Andre Petroski -205 vs. Wellington Turman +175

(Welterweight) Matt Frevola -125 vs. Ottman Azaitar +105

(Women’s strawweight) Karolina Kowalkiewicz -115 vs. Silvana Gomez Juarez -105

(Featherweight) Michael Trizano +135 vs. Choi Seung-Woo -155

(Bantamweight) Julio Arce +175 vs. Montel Jackson -205

(Light heavyweight) Carlos Ulberg -125 vs. Nicolae Negumereanu +105

UFC 281 Main Card Odds

(Strawweight title) Carla Esparza +280 vs. Zhang Weili -340

(Lightweight) Dustin Poirier -175 vs. Michael Chandler +150

(Bantamweight) Frankie Edgar +180 vs. Chris Gutierrez -210

(Lightweight) Dan Hooker -170 vs. Claudio Puelles +145


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