Tag Archives: UFC 287

UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2 – Main card predictions

The UFC returns with yet another banger of a title fight rematch at UFC 287 when Alex Pereira defends his middleweight title for the first time against long-time rival Israel Adesanya in the main event.

This will be the fourth time these two have met in a fight, with Pereira winning each of the previous three but Adesanya running him super close every time.

We’ll also see Gilbert Burns fight Jorge Masvidal in the co-main event, while we’ll also see the likes of Kevin Holland, Raul Rosas Jr, Adrian Yanez, Rob Font, Kelvin Gastelum and Chris Curtis fighting on the card.

Last time out at UFC San Antonio we got the main event pick correct with Cory Sandhagen beating Marlon Vera, although it wasn’t a perfect pick. You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve our overall record here and after starting with the early prelims then moving on to the rest of the prelims, we head to the main card now.


Raul Rosas Jr (7-0) vs Christian Rodriguez (8-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The youngest fighter in UFC history lived up to the hype last time out and he’s back on a pay-per-view main card next. Rosas Jr stepped into the octagon as a 17-year-old and submitted Jay Perrin in the first round, making it five wins via tap out in seven career bouts. Rodriguez on the other hand suffered the only loss of his career in his UFC debut against Jonathan Pearce, but bounced back with a submission win over Joshua Weems last time out in October 2022.

Rosas Jr is a ridiculous talent with fantastic wrestling and a nasty Brazilian jiu-jitsu game to go with his massive frame for 135-pounds. Rodriguez is a kickboxer with a wrestling background and good jiu-jitsu skills of his own to make this a very interesting fight on paper. Rosas Jr is big for the division, but he tends to be quite aggressive and with Rodriguez’s skills he could make him pay for the smallest mistakes by taking his neck or being more patient when it comes to the striking.

But with that said, Rosas Jr is a stud of an athlete despite his age and he has been able to show great composure and skill on the biggest stages so far. It won’t be nearly as quick or lopsided as his debut, but Rosas is a good enough grappler to get a takedown and control the fight for the rest of that round to secure a win on the scorecards.
PICK – Raul Rosas Jr via Decision

Kevin Holland (23-9) vs Santiago Ponzinibbio (30-6) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A super fun welterweight scrap up next between two fan-friendly styles. Holland is 2-2 in his last four, with wins over Alex Oliveira and Tim Means before back-to-back defeats against Khamzat Chimaev and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson most recently. Ponzinibbio on the other hand snapped a two-fight losing streak to Geoff Neal and Michel Pereira by knocking out Alex Morono to come from behind in his last outing.

Holland is a very well-rounded fighter with fantastic striking and good knockout power to go with solid grappling and jiu-jitsu skills, although he struggles when it comes to the wrestling both offensively and defensively. Ponzinibbio is a straight up striker with fantastic power in his hands and kicks, and some good takedown defence in his back pocket to boot. This one is going to be very, very fun.

Ponzinibbio was one of the most feared welterweights around before a two-year layoff saw him come back as a very different fighter. Holland is so active and has shown he can hang with the best, while his chin has held up against some real power punchers too. It’s going to be fun, but expect Holland to land the bigger shots and eventually stun Ponzinibbio with a counter before launching on his neck and taking a win on the mat.
PICK – Kevin Holland via Submission, Round 2

Rob Font (19-6) vs Adrian Yanez (16-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An absolutely amazing fight for the fans up next at bantamweight. Font had won four-in-a-row before dropping his last two against Jose Aldo and Marlon Vera by decision. Yanez is 5-0 in the UFC with four knockouts, including a first-round stoppage over Tony Kelley most recently. He’s now on a nine-fight win streak.

Font is a fantastic boxer with great speed and combinations, and he showed in his most recent win over Cody Garbrandt that he is also a more than competent wrestler too when he needs to mix things up. Yanez is also a super boxer with fantastic combinations and power, while his takedown defence has passed the test every time it’s been called upon. This is going to be a straight up banger between two studs.

Yanez is the favourite heading into this, but Font is far and away the best fighter he has ever come up against. His ability to box with Yanez shouldn’t be overlooked, but the ability to mix in his wrestling and his strong low kicks can disrupt the rhythm of the younger fighter. I absolutely love Yanez, but Font is no pushover and I think the veteran claims an entertaining win in the fight of the night on the cards.
PICK – Rob Font via Decision



Gilbert Burns (21-5) vs Jorge Masvidal (35-16) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Welterweight contender bout up next between two hugely popular stars. Burns is 2-2 in his last four having been beaten by Kamaru Usman in a title fight and then losing a razor close decision to Khamzat Chimaev, while he has dominated Stephen Thompson and Neil Magny most recently via a first-round arm triangle submission. Masvidal on the other hand has lost his last three, losing to Usman twice in two title fights before being controlled by Colby Covington most recently over a year ago.

Burns is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard with incredible submission skills, but he has also got hugely improved striking and fantastic power in his hands to go with it. Masvidal is a terrific kickboxer with super boxing skills and a nasty body kick, while his wrestling defence and submission defence have been fairly good in his career. This is arguably the last chance for two legends to make a title run.

Masvidal’s best hope of winning this fight is keeping it standing and getting into a striking battle with Burns. But Burns is no pushover in the stand up exchanges and he has the ability to force Masvidal to the ground with his wrestling and grappling skills. “Gamebred” has the one-punch power most fighters dream of, but Burns is very good at staying safe and also has a granite chin so I expect him to get Masvidal down and control him for 15 minutes to claim the win in Miami.
PICK – Gilbert Burns via Decision

Alex Pereira (7-1) vs Israel Adesanya (23-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A banger in the middleweight division as we find out who the better man is between these two once and for all (maybe?). Pereira is undefeated in the UFC after KO’ing Andreas Michailidis, Sean Strickland and Adesanya last time out, while he also has a decision win over Bruno Silva. Adesanya is one of the best middleweights ever, with his defeat to Pereira last time out ending a 12-fight win streak in the division in the UFC.

Both of these guys are long time kickboxers at a world class level, and both have transitioned exceptionally to MMA with those skills. Adesanya is the more experienced fighter and has shown some more grappling skills than his opponent, and he may need to use that in this fight to finally get one over on his long time rival. The bouts they’ve had previously have seen Adesanya winning until late on when the power of Pereira caught up.

That means Adesanya knows he can hang with him, and by mixing in more takedowns and making Pereira grapple with him throughout the opening 20 minutes it’s likely to wear on him more for that final round where he has proved so dangerous. “The Last Stylebender” is the better fighter in my mind despite the results of their previous bouts and I think he finally gets it done this time around on the scorecards to win his title back and set up a UFC trilogy later in 2023.
PICK – Israel Adesanya via Decision

Advertisement

UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2 – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns with yet another banger of a title fight rematch at UFC 287 when Alex Pereira defends his middleweight title for the first time against long-time rival Israel Adesanya in the main event.

This will be the fourth time these two have met in a fight, with Pereira winning each of the previous three but Adesanya running him super close every time.

We’ll also see Gilbert Burns fight Jorge Masvidal in the co-main event, while we’ll also see the likes of Kevin Holland, Raul Rosas Jr, Adrian Yanez, Rob Font, Kelvin Gastelum and Chris Curtis fighting on the card.

Last time out at UFC San Antonio we got the main event pick correct with Cory Sandhagen beating Marlon Vera, although it wasn’t a perfect pick. You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve our overall record here and after starting with the early prelims, we move on to the rest of the prelims now.


Karl Williams (8-1) vs Chase Sherman (16-11) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweights take to the cage next. Williams made his UFC debut last month and claimed a win over Lukasz Brzeski on the cards, while Sherman has lost five of his last six fights, with a decision to Waldo Cortes-Acosta most recently in November 2022. Williams steps in on short notice to replace Chris Barnett.

Williams is a big heavyweight at 6ft 3 with fantastic wrestling skills and the cardio to go with it. He also has good hand speed and power, although his striking is certainly his weak point. Sherman is a traditional heavyweight with some big haymakers and a decent leg kick, but pretty poor takedown defence and that’s a big issue for him here. Hi defeats to Alexandr Romanov and Jake Collier showed that he really struggles with persistent wrestlers, and that’s what Williams does brilliantly.

If Williams can implement the same game plan he did last month, then he should win this fight. His hand speed will make Sherman think twice in the striking exchanges, which will open up the takedowns for Williams to control him and claim a dominant win.
PICK – Karl Williams via Decision

Gerald Meerschaert (35-15) vs Joe Pyfer (10-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Veteran vs hype train up next in the middleweight division. Meerschaert has won four of his last five fights in the UFC, with a stunning submission win over Bruno Silva last time out back in August. Pyfer has burst onto the scene with three wins in a row via knockout, including Alen Amedovski in his full UFC debut last time out.

Meerschaert is a stunning grappler with insanely good durability and submission skills, as shown by his 27 career wins by tap out. His boxing isn’t the best though and he can be clipped, as his three KO defeats show. Pyfer is a heavy-handed scrapper with solid fundamentals and good wrestling, but often he gets a bit carried away and can find himself huffing and puffing as the fight goes on. He has the skills to win this fight, but Meerschaert is no pushover.

GM3 has halted many a hype train and he knows how to stay safe until an opening shows itself before he takes advantage. However, relying on someone who is very skilled to make a mistake as your chance to win isn’t something that we can back. He could well get the win, but expect Pyfer to mix in his wrestling with his heavy hands to claim a decision victory with the judges in a statement win.
PICK – Joe Pyfer via Decision



Michelle Waterson-Gomez (18-10) vs Luana Pinheiro (10-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A very fun strawweight scrap up next between a veteran and an upcoming star in the division. Waterson-Gomez has lost four of her last five, with a controversial win over Angela Hill sandwiched between losses to Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Carla Esparza, Marina Rodriguez and Amanda Lemos. Pinheiro on the other hand is on an eight-fight win streak including both of her UFC bouts so far, where she beat Randa Markos via DQ and Sam Hughes most recently in November.

Waterson-Gomez is a talented karate style fighter who is also a good wrestler and has decent submission skills to boot. Pinheiro is a really complete fighter with heavy hands, good kicks, excellent takedowns, solid submissions and great judo to go with it. Generally the Brazilian has the edge everywhere here and it seems like a bit of a set up fight for her.

Pinheiro has the judo skills to take this fight down and dominate, and she has the size and power advantage on the feet to control the striking exchanges if she performs to her best. Waterson-Gomez needs to use her speed and movement to work a volume-heavy attack to tip the judges in her favour, but it seems highly unlikely that this goes anywhere other than in Pinheiro’s win column.
PICK – Luana Pinheiro via Decision

Chris Curtis (30-9) vs Kelvin Gastelum (17-8) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A banger at middleweight up next between two fan favourites on the roster. Curtis has won nine of his last 10 fights, including four of five in the UFC. He KO’d Phil Hawes and Brendan Allen before a decision win over Rodolfo Vieira was followed up by a decision loss to Jack Hermansson. He bounced back with a big KO win over Joaquin Buckley last time out. Gastelum has lost five of his last six including the last two in a row to Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier.

Curtis is an undersized middleweight with fantastic boxing skills and great power in his hands, to go with his granite chin and solid cardio. Gastelum is known for his chin and powerful left hand, while he also has decent wrestling skills too but he hasn’t fought in 20 months after suffering with injuries. This is a real coin toss of a fight.

Gastelum’s losses have come regularly in recent times, but they have come against top level opposition and the one time he fought someone he was expected to beat (Ian Heinisch) he did so comfortably. Curtis is probably fighting at his maximum level right now and Gastelum has fought at a far higher level than that. I won’t be surprised either way, but I think Gastelum can go with him for the full 15 to claim a win on the scorecards in a razor close yet entertaining fight.
PICK – Kelvin Gastelum via Decision

UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2 – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns with yet another banger of a title fight rematch at UFC 287 when Alex Pereira defends his middleweight title for the first time against long-time rival Israel Adesanya in the main event.

This will be the fourth time these two have met in a fight, with Pereira winning each of the previous three but Adesanya running him super close every time.

We’ll also see Gilbert Burns fight Jorge Masvidal in the co-main event, while we’ll also see the likes of Kevin Holland, Raul Rosas Jr, Adrian Yanez, Rob Font, Kelvin Gastelum and Chris Curtis fighting on the card.

Last time out at UFC San Antonio we got the main event pick correct with Cory Sandhagen beating Marlon Vera, although it wasn’t a perfect pick. You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve our overall record here, starting with the early prelims.


Jaqueline Amorim (6-0) vs Sam Hughes (7-5) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

An interesting strawweight bout to open up the card. Amorim is an undefeated fighter making her UFC debut, having won all six of her previous bouts via stoppage (5 submissions, 1 knockout). Hughes on the other hand saw her two-fight winning streak halted by Piera Rodriguez last time out via unanimous decision.

Amorim is a stunning submission artist, with medals at the world championships for Brazilian jiu-jitsu, with strong takedowns but poor striking. Hughes is a wrestler with strong takedowns too, and decent striking on the feet, but her takedown defence is a massive hole in her game. There is every chance that Hughes keeps this fight standing and brawls her way to a win because she has the advantage on the feet and with power.

But we’ve seen Hughes really struggle in the past with takedown defence, and while Amorim isn’t the greatest takedown artist she should have enough to get it down once. If she does that, her submission skills are so advanced that I doubt it gets out of the round to make it seven straight first-round finishes to open her career.
PICK – Jaqueline Amorim via Submission, Round 1

Shayilan Nuerdanbieke (39-10) vs Steve Garcia (13-5) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Featherweight scrap between two veterans in this one. Nuerdanbieke is on a three-fight win streak heading into this one, earning decisions over Sean Soriano and TJ Brown before a first-round knockout win over Darrick Minner. Garcia on the other hand is 2-1 in his last three, KO’ing Charlie Ontiveros and Chase Hooper with a KO loss to Maheshate sandwiched between those bouts.

Nuerdanbieke is an excellent grappler with really strong wrestling takedowns and good movement on the feet to keep his opponents honest in the stand up exchanges. Garcia on the other hand is a power puncher with a lot of aggression. His takedown defence hasn’t been the best in his career, and with his tendency to plant his feet and throw bombs that opens up the takedown for Nuerdanbieke.

If Garcia lands flush early, he has every chance of putting Nuerdanbieke down. But on the balance of probability, expect “Wolverine” to be able to get enough top control racked up over the 15 minutes to claim a win on the scorecards.
PICK – Shayilan Nuerdanbieke via Decision



Ignacio Bahamondes (13-4) vs Trey Ogden (16-5) – (Catchweight/160lbs)

Banger up next at a catchweight between two very interesting fighters. Bahamondes has won his last two in a row, destroying Roosevelt Roberts via spinning wheel kick with five seconds remaining before submitting Zhu Rong last time out over a year ago. Ogden has won four of his last five, but is 1-1 in the UFC after losing his debut to Jordan Leavitt before beating Daniel Zellhuber last time out. Ogden steps into this fight on two weeks’ notice to replace the injured Nikolas Motta.

Bahamondes is a fantastic kickboxer with great size and power, to go with some solid grappling and takedown defence. He’s also got superb kicking as shown in his two wins in the UFC. Ogden on the other hand is a wrestler with great grappling skills and good takedowns, but his striking is shaky and his volume isn’t the greatest either. That’s a big problem against someone like “La Jaula”.

The Chilean fighter is likely to walk forward and kick a lot, crowding Ogden to prevent takedowns and use his excellent cardio to wear on him. He has the power advantage and is by far the better striker of the two. His takedown defence should be able to hold up against Ogden too, so he will pour the pressure on and attack the body to claim another late stoppage.
PICK – Ignacio Bahamondes via Knockout, Round 2

Cynthia Calvillo (9-5-1) vs Lupita Godinez (8-3) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A fun strawweight bout up next with Calvillo battling to save her UFC career. She has lost each of her last four fights, dropping decisions to Katyln Chookagian and Nina Nunes while being stopped by Jessica Andrade and Andrea Lee. Godinez on the other hand saw a two-fight win streak snapped by Angel Hill last timeout, after beating Loma Lookboonmee and Ariane Carnelossi via decision.

Calvillo is a solid wrestler with great takedowns and okay striking, but she had a really tough time after moving up to flyweight with size. She’s now coming back down, and her strengths should be on show more. But she’ll be facing Godinez, who is a fantastic grappler while also possessing really strong boxing and some solid cardio. On paper Godinez should win this based on their recent performances.

But fighting doesn’t happen on paper and Calvillo has the wrestling to control Godinez from top position. Godinez has a horrible habit of fighting where the opponent is at their best, and while she’s a solid wrestler too Calvillo will have a size advantage and that could help her to claim an upset win and get back in the W column for the first time since June 2020.
PICK – Cynthia Calvillo via Decision