Major Fights Highlight UFC 287 In Miami
An absolutely stacked UFC card sees the world-leading MMA organization head back to Miami for the first time in 20 years to witness the fourth installment in one of the most thrilling wars in combat sports history.
Miami’s own Jose Masvidal also returns to his home city when he takes on Gilbert Burns.
Here are our UFC picks for the weekend.
Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya
For the fourth time in combat sports and the second time inside the octagon, Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya will meet with the former currently 3-0 up after snatching the middleweight title in round five of their most recent battle.
Although Pereira has won all three fights so far, each fight has taken a similar route. In fact, many argue Adesanya won their first kickboxing fight, but there is no denying that he lost the last two with a brutal knockout in the second fight and the recent late TKO.
However, Adesanya is no doubt the more polished MMA fighter. He scored more takedowns in their first MMA fight and was winning the first four rounds 3-1. But, as has been the case throughout Pereira’s entire career, he used his unfathomable power to get the win.
It is also important to remember that the Nigerian almost knocked Pereira out in their last two fights but was saved in both of those by the bell.
Ultimately, there are two outcomes to watch in this fight: Pereira TKO/KO and Adesanya on points. Either argument weighs as heavy as the other, but if Adesanya can utilize more wrestling, he should get the win. The champion is 3-0 up in this battle, however, so we’re going for victory number four.
Alex Pereira by KO/TKO is +220 with FanDuel Sportsbook.
Gilbert Burns vs. Jorge Masvidal
Miami’s own Jorge Masvidal is back where it all started this weekend, but in truth, he has one of the toughest fights of his career against an experienced and versatile fighter, Gilbert Burns.
Burns is one of the best jiu-jitsu specialists in MMA today, and he even managed to take the unstoppable Khamzat Chimaev all the way to the judges’ scorecards by winning one round.
There is always a chance that Masvidal lands one of his legendary knockouts on Burns, who prior to the fight against Chimaev, was questioned on his durability. However, the odds favor Burns greatly in this one and we can’t see anything but a clinic in grappling from the Brazilian and a win on the scorecards.
After all, Masvidal is 38 and on a three-fight losing run, and he is only getting these big fights because of his superstar status.
Gilbert Burns to win on points is +165 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
Rob Font vs. Adrian Yanez
After losing to Jose Aldo and Marlon Vera, Rob Font is looking for one more rocket into the bantamweight title talk at 35 years old.
However, Adrian Yanez has been on a tear over the past five years since losing to Miles Johns back on the LFA scene, as the 29-year-old now boasts of a nine-fight win streak that has involved four Performance of the Night bonuses.
In fact, we'd go as far to say that Yanez is arguably the best boxer in the current bantamweight rankings, alongside the legendary boxer, Petr Yan. This has seen him register 10 of his 16 wins via TKO/KO with his most recent being a TKO victory over Tony Kelley.
Font seems to be on a downward spiral ever since he racked up four wins in a row over names like Marlon Moraes and Cody Garbrandt. Against a rising knockout artist like Yanez, it looks as if he is set to lose his third fight in a row.
Adrian Yanez by KO/TKO is +180 with FanDuel.
Kevin Holland vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
After racking up one of the most memorable fighting years in UFC history and winning multiple awards for his five-fight winning run in 2020, things have gone from bad to worse for Kevin Holland. Losses to Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori showed huge holes in his grappling game before Khamzat Chimaev made easy work of him back in September.
Then, just when it looked as if Holland had found the perfect matchup against fellow striking phenom Stephen Thompson, the 40-year-old would force a corner stoppage after smashing Holland around for four rounds.
As for Santiago Ponzinibbio, he returned to the win column the week after Holland's loss to Thompson by knocking out Alex Moreno to earn his fifth bonus in his past eight fights.
The Argentine now has 16 TKO/KO wins on his record from 29 victories, and with just six losses from 35 fights, Ponzinibbio is certainly one of welterweights most underrated fighters.
This matchup is two knockout artists battling each other, and we give the edge to the kung fu mastery of Holland.
Kevin Holland to win on points is +170 with FanDuel.
Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Christian Rodriguez
Just two months after turning 18, Raul Rosas Jr. entered the UFC back in early December as the youngest fighter ever to compete in the organization. He followed this up with a dominant first-round submission victory over Jay Perrin.
To have such a big name and such MMA excellence at 18 is simply unheard of in this sport. His record now sits at 7-0 after less than two years in MMA, and there really is no ceiling on this man's potential. After all, he’s already on a main card of a PPV event and still arguably 10 years away from his athletic peak at least.
Christian Rodriguez heads into this fight 8-1 in MMA and lost his UFC debut to Jonathan Pearce when he was 24.
Like Rosas, the bulk of his wins have been via submission, but despite Rodriguez making a name for himself at a young age in his own way, it seems this fight is set up for Rosas to get another win and get closer to superstardom.
Raul Rosas Jr. to win via submission is +165 with DraftKings.
Other Bets to Consider
Be first to get our exclusive offers!
Join today to stay up to date on your states gambling news and offers.