UFC took a break last week, but Bellator 293 and PFL Season 1 2023 brought some high-level battles. The main event of Bellator 293 was a banger, where Daniel James miraculously recovered and scored a great comeback stoppage victory over Marcelo Golm. James later called for a title shot. In the co-main event of the evening, the former UFC title contender Cat Zingano out-lasted Leah McCourt for a decision win.
PFL was fun to watch, but the main event was a total one-sided domination of Brendan Loughnane, who stopped the former UFC fighter and WSOF champ Marlon Moraes with nasty leg kicks in the second round. The co-main event was a technical battle, where Rob Wilkinson outlasted the former UFC 205-pound title contender Thiago Santos for a decision victory.
UFC will now travel to sunny Florida. The event takes place in Miami Dade Arena, Miami. The main event brings the rematch between the former UFC 185-pound title owner Israel Adesanya and the reigning defending undisputed division champion Alex “Poatan” Pereira.
Their previous fight was very fun to watch. Pereira has already defeated Adesanya twice in kickboxing, so technically, it was their third bout. Adesanya was up on the scorecards, but Pereira somehow recovered in the fifth round and scored a brutal stoppage in round 5 to win the belt.
Photo: @UFCBrasil Twitter
Adesanya is a very technical fighter with great feinting, superb footwork, and amazing kicks and angles. His counters are outstanding. Adesanya has a degree in Taekwondo, so it is easy to explain his tricky style. The Nigeria-born New Zealander holds notable victories over legendary Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero, Marvin Vettori, and many other great names. This could be Adesanya’s last chance to reclaim the belt.
Alex Pereira is known for brutal left hook and one-punch knockouts. He scored a vicious knockout in LFA before his UFC debut. Bruno Silva is the only fighter who successfully traded bombs for three rounds with the Brazilian kickboxer. Pereira’s flying knee knockout against Andreas Michalidis is one of the scariest finishes in the history of the promotion. The reigning defending division king is ready to defend his strap by any means necessary.
Prediction: Pereira to win
The co-main event is very fun, as the BMF title owner and one of the most controversial UFC names, Jorge Masvidal, meets a submission expert with tremendous kickboxing skills, Gilbert “Durinho” Burns.
Burns’ ground game is excellent, he is a former ADCC champ with amazing submission wrestling background. Gilbert’s trademark is armbar, but he is comfortable with all kinds of chokes and submissions. In stand-up, he likes to land big hooks and powerful leg kicks. Burns doesn’t move too much and rather chooses to control the central line. He is a pressure fighter with superb angling too.
Masvidal scored notable wins over legendary Nate Diaz and Darren Till, but he has always had problems with good wrestlers. For example, Kamaru Usman defeated him on two occasions. This is a nightmare matchup for Jorge. “Gamebred” will have to keep this fight standing if he wants to win. Burns is way more skillful on the ground, the bout could end before the final bell if the two end up on the canvas. Jorge’s advantage is long-range strikes, especially straight punches. But he’ll have a hard time if the Brazilian all-around fighter presses him against the fence.
Prediction: Gilbert Burns to win
You can check the UFC 287 pay-per-view “Pereira vs Adesanya 2” full fight card below. There are many high-level battles on UFC Miami’s card.
Main Card (ESPN+ PPV, 10 PM ET, 4 AM CET)
UFC Middleweight Title Fight (185 pounds): Alex Pereira (7-1-0) vs. Israel Adesanya (23-2-0)
Welterweight (170 pounds): Gilbert Burns (21-5-0) vs. Jorge Masvidal (35-16-0)
Bantamweight (135 pounds): Rob Font (19-6-0) vs. Adrian Yanez (16-3-0)
Welterweight (170 pounds): Kevin Holland (23-9-0) vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-6-0)
Bantamweight (135 pounds): Raul Rosas Jr. (7-0-0) vs. Christian Rodriguez (8-1-0)
Preliminary Card (ESPN, UFC On Fight Pass, 8 PM ET, 2 AM CET)
Middleweight (185 pounds): Kelvin Gastelum (17-8-0) vs. Chris Curtis (30-9-0)
Strawweight (115 pounds): Michelle Waterson-Gomez (18-10-0) vs. Luana Pinheiro (10-1-0)
Heavyweight (265 pounds): Karl Williams (8-1-0) vs. Chase Sherman (16-11-0)
Middleweight (185 pounds): Gerald Meerschaert (35-15-0) vs. Joseph Pyfer (10-2-0)
Early Prelims (ESPN+, UFC On Fight Pass, 6 PM ET, midnight CET)
Strawweight (115 pounds): Cynthia Calvillo (9-5-1) vs. Lupita Godinez (8-3-0)
Catchweight (160 pounds): Trey Ogden (16-5-0) vs. Ignacio Bahamondes (13-4-0)
Featherweight (145 pounds): Steve Garcia (13-5-0) vs. Shayilan Nuerdanbieke (39-10-0)
Strawweight (115 pounds): Sam Hughes (7-5-0) vs. Jaqueline Amorim (6-0-0)
My predictions for the upcoming UFC 287 pay-per-view event are available in the playlist below.
UFC 287 is a very stacked card. Many wars could go the distance, but we might see some big stoppages too. Young gun Raul Rosas Jr. is looking for another submission win, Pereira wants to put Adesanya to sleep again, and Masvidal doesn’t want to lose in his hometown. Will Adesanya reclaim the belt? Can Pereira score another vicious knockout victory? We’re about to see it on Saturday!