Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira clash at the UFC 281 in the night’s main event. The stakes are high, with the UFC middleweight belt on the table. Adesanya is one of the most dominant fighters in the organization, and so far, there wasn’t a worthy fighter in the division, which threatened Izzy and endangered his status. Pereira is someone who has already defeated Adensayna in the past, though not in the UFC but during their kickboxing period. For many, he is the only one who can dethrone the Last Stylebender.
Adesanya (-175, 23-1) has 23 wins and one defeat so far, and that failure came in the light heavyweight title bout against Jan Blachowicz. Yet, after that, he bounced back pretty quickly, beating three middleweight challengers, Marvin Vettori, Robert Whittaker, and Jared Cannonier. The first two are the fighters with whom he had already met, and this victory was another proof of his dominance.
All of those three victories came by a decision, and since he took the belt against Whittaker at the UFC 243, four of his five title defenses came via decision. All of those fights were very tactical, without any highlight-reel moves, and they showed Izzy’s character and patience.
The Kiwi is swift, and knows how to control the distance inside the octagon, which is also how he collects points and keeps the rival on the back foot. We saw him on numerous occasions inflicting brutal combos that dazzle the opponent, but lately, he doesn’t go for a finish but waits until the end of the battle.
Alex Pereira (+145, 6-1) was one of the best kickboxers in the world before entering the UFC. His skills were widely regarded as one of the best ever, and it is no wonder he stayed atop all the kickboxing rankings for a long time.
It appears that the UFC planned his introduction to the organization for a long time because he got the chance to fight for the belt pretty fast. Yes, we know that the KO win over Adesanya accelerated the deal, but only three appearances in the UFC sound low.
He beat Andreas Michailidis, Bruno Silva, and Sean Strickland, the latter one via KO in the first round. That was his first truly big name in the UFC, and he did perform confidently, but this guy wasn’t appropriately tested, we need to say that. For many, he should have fought at least one top contender before sharing the octagon with Izzy.
The last paragraph is the reason why we give the edge to Adesanya in this battle. Don’t get us wrong, these two guys know one another pretty well, but kickboxing and UFC aren’t the same despite all the similarities. Adesanya has much more experience in the octagon, as he fought pretty much all the best guys in the division, most of them two times, beating everybody. For many, Izzy is the most dominant figure in the UFC, which is why we think his win here is inevitable. The odds on Adesayna’s victory are -175.
Pick: Adesanya wins -175
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.