Our UFC 287 preview discusses the top three fights on the main card. This card has plenty of great fights on it, though. With that said, let’s talk about these three fights.
UFC 287 Preview: Rob Font vs. Adrian Yanez
First up, we have a bantamweight matchup between veteran Rob Font and rising star Adrian Yanez. Rob Font’s momentum is low right now, since he is coming off two consecutive losses to Jose Aldo and Marlon Vera. However, Font has fought many top bantamweights and beat several of them.
On the other hand, Adrian Yanez is the younger man at 29 years old. Yanez is 5-0 in the UFC, with four of those five wins coming by KO/TKO. That is likely one of the reasons Yanez is a -185 favorite according to BetOnline. Adrian Yanez is a skilled, accurate striker with great boxing and technique. Font is also a skilled striker, so this fight will probably most play out on the feet.
Yanez is still in his prime and his momentum is excellent. By contrast, Font has struggled a bit at times in these sorts of big fights. Because of that, I predict Adrian Yanez will win this fight and keep moving up the bantamweight rankings.
Prediction: Adrian Yanez by Decision
UFC 287 Preview: Gilbert Burns vs. Jorge Masvidal
In the co-main event, we have a great welterweight bout between Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal. Both fighters have competed for the undisputed UFC welterweight title, although both lost those title fights. Masvidal has lost three fights in a row and is now 38 years old, with other things occupying his attention, as well.
Masvidal has even said he will retire if he loses to Burns at UFC 287. Burns is 3-2 in his last five fights. His two losses came in a Fight of the Night war against Khamzat Chimaev and a title fight against the long-time welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
Gilbert Burns is clearly the superior grappler and will certainly use that to his advantage against Masvidal. However, Burns has good striking and powerful punches, so he is dangerous on the feet, as well. Masvidal is not someone anyone should count out of a fight. Masvidal’s boxing is very good and he can cause problems for his opponents with his striking and stance switches.
Still, Burns has more ways to win this fight and is the younger man. Jorge Masvidal also suffered a brutal knockout loss to Kamaru Usman at UFC 261. While it has been about two years since that loss, many fighters are never the same after that sort of knockout, especially fighters in their late 30s.
At -440 on BetOnline, Burns is a significant betting favorite and I can see why. Gilbert Burns is my pick for this fight, although Masvidal is always a live underdog at worst.
Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2
In the main event, Israel Adesanya looks to reclaim his middleweight title from Alex Pereira. Adesanya was winning their first fight in the UFC before Pereira finished him in the fifth round. That likely plays a part in Adesanya being a -140 favorite according to BetOnline. However, Adesanya is 0-3 against Alex Pereira across both the UFC and kickboxing.
Israel Adesanya likes to stay on the outside and use his range to pick apart his opponents. Alex Pereira has nearly the same reach as Adesanya, though, so doing so will be difficult without exposing himself to Pereira’s power. As such, I expect Adesanya to wrestle Pereira quite a bit and look to take him down to the ground.
Adesanya had a good amount of success doing that in their first UFC fight. I don’t think Adesanya will want to risk fighting Pereira for all five rounds, though, since he knows Pereira can finish him. Adesanya will likely look to tire Pereira out before finishing him on the ground via a submission or TKO.
Pereira’s stamina is the biggest question mark in this fight. Pereira is the far bigger fighter and seemed to slow down over the course of his first UFC fight with Adesanya. If that happens again, Adesanya could take advantage of it and look to finish Pereira.
Predicting this fight is difficult. Adesanya has the speed and experience while Pereira has size and power. However, I expect Adesanya to correct the mistakes he made in the last fight and reclaim his title.
Prediction: Israel Adesanya by Submission
My Top Bet for UFC 287: Adrian Yanez by KO/TKO
Adrian Yanez is a -185 underdog in his fight against Rob Font, according to BetOnline. Yanez is a vicious finisher, with 10 of his 16 career wins coming by KO/TKO. Rob Font has not suffered many stoppage losses in his career. However, I would bet on Yanez to finish Rob Font, especially since Font is significantly older than Yanez.
UFC 287 Has Plenty of Great Fights
UFC 287 is one of the best pay-per-view events the UFC has put together in a while, at least on paper. The 18-year-old Raul Rosas Jr. kicks off the main card against Christian Rodriguez. Kelvin Gastelum takes on Chris Curtis in the final fight on the prelims.