The Ultimate Fighting Championship is getting ready to wind up its 2022 fight season, as they only have two big events left. One of those big events will take place this weekend with UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden.
While this is just the sixth time that MSG has hosted a UFC event, there has been plenty of great moments. Fighters participating in UFC 281 have a chance to produce their own great moments in arguably the most iconic sports facility in the nation as the card is stacked.
The 14-bout card features two title fights, including the main event where Israel Adesanya puts up his middleweight belt against No.4 ranked Alex Pereira. The co-main event is also a title match with women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza facing No. 2 contender Zhang Weili. All totaled, 10 ranked fighters will enter the octagon on November 12.
UFC 281 will get underway with the preliminaries starting at 8 p.m. (ET), and the main card beginning at 10 p.m. ESPNews and ESPN+ will broadcast the event with the main card only available via PPV.
Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira, middleweight
I expect this to be an explosive and entertaining fight as it matches two competitors who know each other well and possess different philosophies. Adesanya likes to move around and is ferocious when he attacks. Meanwhile, Pereira is more patient, though he can knock anyone out when he sees an opening.
Adesanya (23-1) is one of the best fighters in the UFC, while Pereira (6-1) is still working to make a name for himself within the UFC. He has two victories over Adesanya and is the only person to knock out the 33-year-old Nigerian, but all that happened in kickboxing.
Adesanya has won three straight matches, all of which were by unanimous decision, since suffering his lone loss in MMA to Jan Blachowicz. He is 7-1 in title defenses overall.
Pereira is relatively new to the UFC though he is coming off an impressive first-round knockout of 7th-ranked Sean Strickland in July. The 35-year-old Brazilian has won six straight fights, with the last three coming as a member of the UFC.
I like Adesanya to retain the title. Adesanya is quicker and has an experience and stamina advantage over Pereira. I wouldn’t be surprised if this match went the distance.
Prediction: Adesanya (-205) Moneyline
Best Bet: Fight To Go Distance (-120)
Other Bet: Fight to be decided by unanimous decision (+110)
Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler, Lightweight
This bout also should be fun and competitive as it features two ranked opponents who are heavy hitters. Poirier (28-7) comes in as the No. 2 contender in the division, while Chandler (23-7) is fifth.
Poirier, a former champion, is fighting for the first time since getting submitted by Charles Oliveira a year ago. He is 3-2 in his last five fights. Twenty-six of Poirer’s 35 fights have ended before the final bell, which includes 21 wins.
Chandler has a lot of experience in big fights though this is just his fifth trip to the octagon as a member of the UFC. The 36-year-old American knocked out Tony Ferguson in his last outing to snap a two-bout skid.
I like Poirer to pick up the victory. Poirer has developed into a methodical striker who will get his shots when the opportunity presents itself, and that could be a problem for Chandler, whose defense is nonexistent. Chandler has been knocked down four times in his last three fights.
Prediction: Poirer to win (-215)
Best Bet: Poirer To Win By Finish (+100)
Ottman Azaitar vs. Matt Frevola, Lightweight
Prediction: Azaitar To Win (120)
Best Bet: Azaitar To Win By Finish (+110)
Renato Mocaino vs. Brad Riddell, Lightweight
Prediction: Mocaino To Win (-120)
Montel Jackson Over Julio Acre, Bantamweight
Prediction: Jackson To Win (-280)
Best Bet: Fight To Go Distance (-150)
Andre Petroski vs. Wellington Turman, Middleweight
Prediction: Petroski To Win (-195)
Best Bet: Petroski To Win By Finish (+110)
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