Photo by: Brenden Cowan
There have already been some amazing UFC events to start 2023 –Makhachev vs Volkanovski, Jones vs Gane, Edwards vs Usman 3 and Gaethje vs Fiziev will be tough to top. With UFC 287 just a few days away, let us take a look at the most anticipated fights on Apr. 8.
Pereira vs. Adesanya 2
Alex Pereira is a 35-year-old Brazilian professional UFC fighter with a record of 7-1 in his career. He is the current UFC middleweight champion of the world despite only fighting four times for the organization.
Israel Adesanya currently fights in the UFC as a 33-year-old with a career record of 23-2. Adesanya held the belt for nearly a year and a half from June 2021 to November 2022.
These two fighters have a long history of battle dating back well before they both joined the UFC. Pereira and Adesanya fought twice when they both used to compete in kickboxing with Pereira getting the better of Adesanya, winning both of those fights.
So when they finally met in the octagon on Nov. 13, 2022 all UFC fans knew they were in for a treat. At the time, Adesanya had the division belt and was the undisputed middleweight champion of the world. But not for much longer, Pereira became the first fighter in the UFC to knockout Adesanya winning the fight by TKO in the fifth round.
Now that Pereira has the belt the UFC has set up a rematch on Apr. 8 as he looks to defend his title for the first time in his UFC career. Will the aging Adesanya be able to take back the belt from his longtime rival Pereira?
Burns vs Masvidal
This welterweight matchup between Gilbert Burns (21-5) and Jorge Masvidal (35-16) is a highly anticipated one. Since the fight was announced, the two have been going back-and-forth on social media.
Burns suggested to the UFC that they make their fight a five-round co-main event fight along with the Pereira and Adesanya fight but Masvidal shut down that idea right away explaining that he had already signed the contract with the UFC and was not being paid “BMF money”. To which Burns responded, “I’m going to make that guy suffer so much in three rounds that it should be enough”.
Both Burns and Masvidal are on the back nine of their careers at ages 36 and 38. The winner of the upcoming fight on April 8 may get a shot at the welterweight title which could be the last fight of both of their careers.
Rosas Jr. vs Rodriguez
Raul Rosas Jr. became the youngest fighter to win in the UFC on Dec. 10, 2022, at 18 years old. He is now set to fight in his second UFC match against Christian Rodriguez who is currently 2-1 in the UFC, winning his last fight against Joshua Weems.
Rodriguez is also considered a young fighter as he is just 25 years of age and is looking to make his mark against one of the UFC up-and-coming stars.
Though all eyes will be on Rosas Jr. to win as he is the heavy favourite heading into the fight this weekend. Will the teenager be able to continue his rise to the top of the UFC or will a more experienced fighter in Rodriguez come out on top? We’ll have to wait and see until April 8 when UFC 287 takes place at Miami Dade Arena in Miami, Florida.
UFC 287 can be purchased on PPV here and for all other information regarding the UFC and upcoming events visit UFC.com