UFC 287: Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2 – Results and analysis

Bloody Elbow presents instant analysis of all the action from UFC 287 out of Miami, FL.

By: Dayne Fox | 2 months ago
UFC 287: Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2 – Results and analysis
Adesanya vs Pereira (1) | Photo by: Louis Grasse

The UFC has to be ecstatic with the way the UFC 287 main event between Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya played out. Adesanya lost the first three contests between the two, though only one of those contests took place in the UFC. Of course, that was the most known of their fights as Pereira dethroned the long-reigning Adesanya. Well, it looks like they could end up having an organizational trilogy….

Through the first nine minutes, it was a very close contest. Pereira attacked Adesanya’s legs. Adesanya wasn’t as cautious as he was in their last contest, not looking to outpoint Pereira. Adesanya was looking for the finish. When it looked like Pereira had hurt Adesanya — his leg was giving out — Adesanya exploded from covering up, blasting Pereira with a right hand. A few more follow up shots and Pereira was out cold and Adesanya was the first two-time middleweight champion in organizational history.

Adesanya didn’t mention any future plans — i.e. who he might be fighting next — and Pereira wasn’t interviewed due to the fact that he was knocked out. But given Pereira’s unique frame and skillset has allowed for him to be the only middleweight to even give Adesanya a run for his money, it’s hard to believe they’ll pass up the possibility of a trilogy. After all, those who are probably most deserving of a title fight have already lost to Adesanya. At the very least, a trilogy allows more time for a new contender to emerge.

As for the rest of the card…

Main Card

Jorge Masvidal’s return from a year long layoff didn’t go so hot for the longtime veteran. In fact, Masvidal announced his retirement after dropping a unanimous decision to Gilbert Burns. Given the only BMF belt holder in organizational history has lost four in a row, it seems appropriate for the 38-year-old to call it a career. Here’s wishing him well in his future endeavors.

Burns took a bit to get going, allowing Masvidal to take the early lead with his striking. Once Burns woke up, he not only controlled Masvidal on the mat for long stretches, he ended up taking control in the striking department. Post fight, Burns called for a title fight. I don’t see that happening, but I wouldn’t be against it.

The UFC has been pushing Adrian Yanez as one of the big players in a burgeoning bantamweight division. It isn’t his time quite yet. Though he looked sharp early, an uppercut from Rob Font in close quarters proved to be the beginning of the end for Yanez. Given the quick nature of the finish, Font may have resuscitated what appeared to be a fading career. At 35, he needs to make his move immediately. Yanez shouldn’t be too discouraged; he’s still young and has time.

Kevin Holland may not be an elite fighter, but he’ll get every opportunity to be one given his eclectic personality. Even though he probably could have cruised to a decision over Santiago Ponzinibbio after taking the first two rounds, Holland found a highlight reel KO in the final round. He followed that up by calling out Masvidal afterwards.

The main card opener provided a stern reminder of why the UFC should let prospects marinate as long as possible on the regional. Then again, Bellator or PFL would snatch them up. Anyone up for a farm system? Regardless, Christian Rodriguez survived an early onslaught from Raul Rosas Jr. Once the 18-year-old Rosas gassed, Rodriguez took firm control and showed he’s a prospect worth watching too.

For main card highlights, click here.

ESPN Prelims 

Power was the name of the game for the televised portion of the preliminary contests. Not that power doesn’t have something to do with every fight, but it was either front and center or the deciding factor in every preliminary contest. 

Kelvin Gastelum and Chris Curtis earned a well-deserved standing ovation from the Miami crowd as the combatants ate haymaker after haymaker from one another. Some might call it a minor miracle neither went down for the count, but both made it to the final bell for tight decision. Gastelum earned a unanimous nod after a 20-month layoff, but no one would have been shocked to see Curtis get the nod. 

The two women’s fights saw the fighter who landed more volume come out on the short end of the stick with the judges. Michelle Waterson-Gomez had a visible reaction to every strike Luana Pinheiro landed in the first two rounds. It wasn’t as obvious between Loopy Godinez and Cynthia Calvillo, but Godinez’s power was the clear difference maker. It wasn’t just the more powerful hitters that won; Pinheiro and Godinez are also significantly younger. It appears a youth movement could be underway in the strawweight division…. 

The other preliminary fight saw Joe Pyfer clip grizzled veteran Gerald Meerschaert across the chin. It didn’t look overly impressive in real time, but Meerschaert dropped like a sack of potatoes and didn’t want to get back up. Just two fights into his UFC run, Pyfer has already made a hell of a name with two first round KO’s. 

April 8, 2023, Miami, FL, Miami, Florida, United States: MIAMI, FLORIDA – APRIL 8: L-R Joe Pyfer punches Gerald Meerschaert in their middleweight fight during the UFC 287 event at Kaseya Center on April 8, 2023 in Miami, FL, United States. Miami, FL United States – ZUMAp175 20230408_zsa_p175_080 Copyright: xAlejandroxSalazarx

Early Prelims 

The card opened with a pair of underdog comebacks. Sam Hughes proved you better put her away when you aim to as she isn’t going to get tired. Newcomer Jaqueline Amorim didn’t put her away and wasn’t able to withstand the late pressure. Steve Garcia didn’t need to go the distance as he crumpled Shayilan Nuerdanbieke in the second after the native of China dropped him in the first. The difference: Garcia was able to get back up; Shayilan didn’t. When talent doesn’t fight smart, grit and toughness will overcome. 

The other early fight saw Ignacio Bahamondes put together a mature performance, picking apart a veteran Trey Ogden. The audience lost interest in the waning moments, but analysts should be pleased in Bahamondes’ showing. He kept Ogden flustered and unable to find a rhythm, allowing Bahamondes to largely cruise. 

For all the highlights of the prelims, click here.

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About the author
Dayne Fox
Dayne Fox

Dayne Fox is a contributing writer and analyst for Bloody Elbow. He has been writing about combat sports since 2013 and a member of Bloody Elbow since 2016. Dayne primarily contributes opinion pieces and event coverage. Dayne’s specialties are putting together the preview articles for all the UFC events and post-fight analysis. Outside of writing on combat sports, Dayne works in the purchasing department of a construction company, formerly working as an analyst. He is also a proud husband and father. In what spare time he can find, he enjoys strategy games and is a movie enthusiast. He is based in Utah.

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