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The Middleweight belt will be up for grabs at UFC 287 on Saturday. Alex Pereira (7-1-0) defends his title in a rematch against former champ Israel Adesanya (23-2-0) in Miami, Florida at the Kaseya Center.
UFC 287’s main card begins at 10 p.m. ET with Prelims at 5 p.m. and Early Prelims at 3 p.m. Pereira-Adesanya part 2 is the main event of UFC 287 and the only championship fight of the card.
Heads up: The following looks are just “pizza bets”. I’m only focusing on the UFC Saturday because the end of the NBA regular season is bogus and the third round of the 2023 Masters is on a weather delay.
Alex Pereira (C) vs. Israel Adesanya for the UFC Middleweight Championship
- Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
This is actually the 4th-installment of the Pereira-Adesanya series. They fought twice in the WGP Kickboxing league with Pereira winning both, one by unanimous decision and the other via knockout on a left hook.
But, Pereira is also a perfect 4-0 in his UFC career with three KO/TKO’s including a 5th-round TKO of Adesanya at UFC 281. I don’t see what changes in this fight.
Both fighters have a kickboxing background and Pereira is 2-0 in Adesanya in kickboxing. Pereira out-lands Adesanya in significant strikes per minute (5.23-3.93) and his defense rate is only 5% worse (58-53%).
Also, Adesanya doesn’t have the grappling to make up for the striking deficit. Adesanya has a worse takedown average than Pereira (0.33-0.06) and Adesanya has never won by submission in the UFC.
In fact, nine of Adesanya’s 12 UFC wins have come by decision. He has the longest average fight time in the middleweight division by more than two minutes. I’ll take my chances with Adesanya trying to out-point Pereira.
Finally, this feels like “the wrong fighter is favored”. The only reason Adesanya is the favorite is because he’s been in the UFC longer and is higher in the pound-for-pound rankings. But, Pereira has Adesanya’s number.
BET: Alex Pereira to win (+110) the UFC 287 main event at DraftKings
Welterweight Bout: Gilbert Burns vs. Jorge Masvidal
- Odds from DraftKings
Burns submitted Neil Magny at UFC 281 on Jan. 21. Masvidal has lost three straight fights, two of which were for the welterweight title vs. Kamaru Usman. Personally, I don’t see why Burns is such a big favorite here.
Both fighters are “strikers” except Masvidal is more efficient. Masvidal lands slightly more significant strikes per minute (4.11-3.42) but has a much higher defense rate (64-54%).
Furthermore, Masvidal’s KO-rate is at 46% while Burns’ is at 29% and Burns cannot out-grapple Masvidal. Burns’ takedown average is much lower (59-35%) and his takedown defense is even worse (74-47%).
Half of Burns’ 10 UFC victories have come via submission and Masvidal has never tapped in the octagon. Burns-Masvidal should remain on their feet for most of this fight and the judges won’t decide this one.
Per VSIN, a slight majority of the action booked at DraftKings is on the OVER 2.5 rounds (-130) in Burns-Masvidal. But, DraftKings suspiciously makes the Under (+100) the cheaper side of the total round market.
Split BET on OVER 2.5 rounds (-130) & Jorge Masvidal to win (+340) at DraftKings
Bantamweight Bout: Rob Font vs. Adrian Yanez
- Odds from DraftKings
I’m betting the Font-Yanez bout lighter because my handicap is solely based on gambling logic. Per VSIN, nearly two-thirds of the action at DraftKings for this fight is on the favorite.
However, according to Odds Shark, Yanez opened at roughly -162 across the market. There hasn’t been much line movement despite the one-way betting action.
How could that be? Font has lost back-to-back fights entering UFC 287 and Yanez is 6-0 in the UFC with five knockout wins. Also, Yanez is a “boxer” and Font is a “striker”.
Perhaps the sportsbooks are giving Font the benefit of the doubt because he’s the more experienced UFC fighter. Font has never been knocked out and this is Yanez’s 1st UFC pay-per-view fight.
Font has the 4th-best significant strike differential in UFC Bantamweight history (minimum of five UFC fights) and is more accurate than Yanez. Lastly, Font has the 3rd-most KO/TKO wins in UFC bantamweight history (five).
BET: Rob Font to win (+140) at DraftKings
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