UFC 287 is taking place on Saturday from Miami, Florida, and the event is headlined by a rematch between Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya for the UFC middleweight title. In their previous fight at UFC 281 in November 2022, Pereira finished Adesanya by strikes in the fifth round to become the new UFC middleweight champion. Pereira’s win ended Adesanya’s lengthy middleweight title reign, which included seven title-fight wins.
At last month’s UFC 285 event, a DraftKings Sportsbook bettor had a legendary win, turning just $1 into nearly $400,000. The bettor placed a $1 Parlay Bet on DraftKings Sportsbook featuring the following six picks at +39947171 odds:
- Dricus Du Plessis to Win by KO/TKO/DQ in Round 2
- Cody Garbrandt To Win By Decision
- Bo Nickal to Win by Submission in Round 1
- Shavkat Rakhmonov to Win by Submission in Round 3
- Alexa Grasso to Win by Submission in Round 4
- Jon Jones To Win By Submission
As a result of all of these outcomes hitting in the Parlay Bet, the bettor took home $399,472.71 in one of the greatest wins in sports betting history.
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Two of the best kick-boxers on EARTH meet again @AlexPereiraUFC vs @Stylebender 2 THIS SATURDAY at #UFC287! pic.twitter.com/IZDVQJeahv— UFC (@ufc) April 4, 2023
Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2 (UFC)
Pereira and Adesanya have fought three times previously—twice in kickboxing matches and once in the UFC. Pereira is 3-0 vs. Adesanya and has finished Adesanya by KO/TKO in each of their last two meetings. In those last two matchups, there has been a similar theme—Adesanya was winning the fight, but Pereira’s power ultimately found the button and ended the fight via strikes.
Pereira is a matchup nightmare for Adesanya because Pereira can match most of Adesanya’s advantages at middleweight. Pereira is an elite kickboxer who is huge for the division, and his height, reach and striking skill are very similar to Adesanya’s. Adesanya, who is very tall and long, has enjoyed a significant reach and range advantage over most of his opponents at middleweight. Adesanya uses his length to position himself just outside of his opponent’s striking range, which usually makes it difficult to land a clean shot on Adesanya. Adesanya then punishes his other opponents with his superior striking from distance, and his takedown defense and defensive grappling have been good enough to fend off the grapplers he has faced at middleweight.
Against Pereira, Adesanya has not been able to position himself outside of Pereira’s striking range to the same degree that he has enjoyed in most of his middleweight fights, and this has been a huge problem against an opponent as powerful as Pereira. Pereira has big knockout power and put Adesanya’s lights out with a left hook in their second kickboxing match. Pereira has one of the greatest left hooks in combat sports, and his left hook found the mark again during the finishing combination of their most recent UFC fight. The left hook from an orthodox fighter onto another orthodox fighter can be such a devastating punch because the lead defensive shoulder is on the opposite side of the left hook, which gives more clearance to find the chin on the left side.
Pereira’s offensive and defensive kicking game has also given Adesanya problems. Defensively, Pereira has stuffed Adesanya’s leg kicks with excellent checking. Offensively, Pereira landed a crippling calf kick on Adesanya in their most recent UFC fight, which diminished Adesanya’s movement and resulted in poor ringcraft. Adesanya spent the later rounds standing near the fence, which kept him inside of Pereira’s punching range and prevented him from managing distance properly. It was along the fence that Pereira landed his fight-finishing combination, which included a powerful left hook that badly hurt Adesanya. In the fifth round, Pereira out-struck Adesanya 28 to 9 in total significant strikes landed, 18 of which were to the head.
Leading up to their rematch, the stoic Pereira has been subtly trolling Adesanya on social media:
Seems like Izzy isn’t surprised #andstill pic.twitter.com/AcB5VkEs2o— Alex "Poatan" Pereira (@AlexPereiraUFC) March 20, 2023
Alex Pereria with another Israel Adesanya diss lmao pic.twitter.com/CDmu4Or8b2— Mircea (@MMAMircea) March 27, 2023
Despite Pereira going 3-0 against Adesanya in combat sports fights, Pereira still comes into this matchup as the underdog on DraftKings Sportsbook. Pereira to win is +115 on the moneyline, and Pereira to win via finish is +215.
Adesanya did have early success against Pereira in their recent UFC fight. Adesanya wobbled Pereira at the end of Round 1, and had more time been on the clock, Pereira could have been in huge trouble. Adesanya was also winning three rounds to one on all three of the judges’ scorecards heading into the final round, and Pereira needed a late finish to win the fight.
However, Pereira has the clear edge in power, which has ultimately separated the two fighters and gives Pereira more margin for error. Pereira’s camp has also talked about being more aggressive in this fight to avoid falling behind on the judges’ scorecards. In addition, Adesanya’s quick turnaround after getting finished by strikes is also concerning—Adesanya has taken less than five months off between fights. Getting Pereira at plus money on the moneyline is an appealing pick in a matchup nightmare for Adesanya.
Pick: Alex Pereira to win (+115)
Same Game Parlay (SGP) to Consider
Alex Pereira Moneyline
Most Significant Strikes: Alex Pereira
Most Knockdowns: Alex Pereira
SGP odds: +350 ($100 bet pays $450)
To build a Same Game Parlay (SGP) on DraftKings Sportsbook:
- Find a fight that has the SGP icon in the top-left corner.
- Toggle “Same Game Parlay” on. Once it’s on, all available bets will appear.
- Build your Same Game Parlay. Combine multiple bets together from one fight. The more bets you combine, the more you can win.
- Place your parlay. Add your Same Game Parlay to your bet slip, enter your wager amount, and submit your bet.
Read more about SGP at the DraftKings Sportsbook SGP page!
All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.