The UFC’s April PPV card just got a shakeup. Previously rumored as the planned landing spot for a bantamweight title fight between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo, in a video broadcast over social media on Friday, January 27th, UFC president Dana White announced that the card would now be headlined by a middleweight title fight rematch between Alex Pereira and former champion Israel Adesanya. Alongside that bout, the event’s co-main will be a welterweight top contender’s bout between Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal. No word yet on what that means for Sterling vs. Cejudo.
Adesanya and Pereira met for the third time in their careers just back in November. For the first time, however, they faced off under MMA rules, and with Adesanya’s middleweight title on the line. Pereira won the bout via stunning 5th round TKO stoppage, making him 3-0 against the ‘Last Stylebender.’
That victory brought Pereira up to 7-1 in his MMA career, and 4-0 in his brief run through the Octagon. The 35-year-old former kickboxing star re-started his MMA career just back in 2020, and made his UFC debut in November of 2021—making it just 12 months from his first UFC bout to winning his first UFC belt.
With five successful title defenses to his name heading into the Pereira bout, it only makes sense that Adesanya would get an immediate shot at reclaiming his crown. Much like Pereira, Adesanya made the move to MMA after a highlight-filled kickboxing career, winning the interim middleweight title in just his 6th UFC bout, and capturing the undisputed title a little more than 18 months after his Octagon debut.
Fresh off an easy-breezy first round submission win over Neil Magny, former welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns seems to be finally getting his wish, for a high profile bout against one of welterweight’s bigger-name opponents. While he called for a bout with Colby Covington after his victory at UFC 283, ‘Durinho’ is now set to face off against Jorge Masvidal instead.
Masvidal and Burns had been linked to a potential UFC bout in 2022, but the fight never managed to materialize (likely in part due to Masvidal’s legal woes). ‘Gamebred’ is currently riding a 3-figth losing streak that includes back-to-back title shot losses to Kamaru Usman, and a 2022 decision loss to Covington. He has been out of action for most of the past year after Covington accused Masvidal of assaulting him outside a Miami restaurant, shortly following their UFC bout. Masvidal has plead not guilty to a count of felony battery and currently awaits trial while free on bail.
Alongside these bouts, White also announced a welterweight booking between Kevin Holland and Santiago Ponzinibbio, as well as previously reported bookings between Rob Font & Adrian Yanez, and Raul Rosas Jr. against Christian Rodriguez. No word yet on a location for the PPV event, but word on the street is that the card may be headed to New York.
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