Monday, March 20, 2023

UFC 287 fight card: Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2, Gilbert Burns vs. Jorge Masvidal set for April 8

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Israel Adesanya won’t have to wait long before getting a shot to regain his middleweight championship. Adesanya will rematch new champion Alex Pereira in the main event of UFC 287 on April 8, UFC president Dana White announced on Friday. The location for the event is still to be determined.

Pereira (7-1) and Adesanya (23-2) faced off in the main event of UFC 281 this past November, with Pereira scoring a dramatic stoppage in the fifth round while down on the official scorecards. With the win, Pereira won the middleweight championship in just his fourth UFC bout and eighth professional bout overall.

The loss was Adesanya’s first loss as a middleweight — his only other mixed martial arts loss came against Jan Blachowicz at light heavyweight — and ended his run of five successful title defenses.

The pair entered their first UFC meeting with history. Pereira defeated Adesanya twice in the kickboxing ring. While their first meeting was a hotly disputed decision, Pereira knocked Adesanya out in their rematch.

White also announced that the co-main event at UFC 287 would see former welterweight title challengers Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal face off in a big showdown.

Earlier in January, Burns picked up a first round submission of Neil Magny. That victory helped him rebound from an April 2022 loss to Khamzat Chimaev, which ranked as one of the best fights of the year.

Masvidal is on a three-fight losing skid, having twice lost to then-welterweight champion Kamaru Usman before also falling to Colby Covington.

Usman is set to rematch Leon Edwards, who defeated Usman at UFC 278. Edwards and Masvidal have long-standing bad blood dating back to a backstage brawl in March 2019 and a win (or loss) by both Edwards and Masvidal could see the pair set for a fight down the road, while Burns will look to continue picking up wins to fight his way back to a second shot at championship glory.

White also announced the undercard for UFC 287 would feature Kevin Holland vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio at welterweight, 19-year-old phenom Raul Rosas Jr. taking on Christian Rodriguez and bantamweight contenders Adrian Yanez and Rob Font squaring off.

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