It's almost time for another major UFC pay-per-view and that means the action at the sportsbook windows is heating up. Saturday's UFC 287 card features plenty of intriguing action, though no fight will get the attention of the middleweight championship rematch between Israel Adesanya and champion Alex Pereira.
Adesanya knows his back is against the wall heading into this fourth meeting with Pereira.
"I'm down two fights in kickboxing, one fight in MMA, so I'm down three, and this is like in every movie — your one shot," Adesanya said at UFC 287 media day. "This is my Eminem moment, my '8 Mile' moment. You get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime, and this is it. This is it for me."
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The undercard fills out with a pair of bantamweight tilts and a welterweight contest. Rising contender Adrian Yanez is set to take on rugged veteran Rob Font. Yanez enters on a five fight win streak while Font is coming off two straight losses to contenders. Meanwhile, veterans Kevin Holland and Santiago Ponzinibbio are set to throw down at welterweight. And teenage prodigy Raul Rosas Jr. is looking for his second UFC win when he takes on Christian Rodriguez to open the PPV card.
As always, we are looking ahead to the event to determine our choices for the best bets for each fight on the pay-per-view main card. UFC 296 slowed our strong start to the year with our picks going 2-3, our first losing event of the year, moving our overall record to 13-7 across the UFC's first three pay-per-view events.
Let's take a look at our picks for the best bets on the UFC 287 main card with odds from Caesars Sportsbook.
Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Christian Rodriguez
Under 2.5 rounds (-125)
The price here feels like a steal and I'm tempted to play under 1.5 rounds at +170 and that is certainly worth a small play, but under 2.5 is a bit safer. In 16 combined fights, Rosas and Rodriguez have gone to the scorecards three times. Neither man has been stopped in their carer, but that's a product of the level of previous competition. These are finishers and finishers finish, so put your money behind that line of thinking.
Kevin Holland vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
Fight not to go the distance (-135)
This is a hard fight to call. Holland took a serious beating against Stephen Thompson in his most recent outing. Holland took the kind of punishment in that fight that can significantly change a career, or he may bounce back fine. It's a big unknown coming into Saturday. At 36 years old and with 35 fights to his name, Ponzinibbio has certainly seen better days, but still carries knockout power. Between the finishing skills both men have and the flaws and liabilities at play on both sides, a finish feels very much in play.
Rob Font vs. Adrian Yanez
Adrian Yanez (-190) vs. Rob Font
This fight is a nifty little bit of matchmaking. Font has established his place in the UFC, sitting just a bit below the top level of the division. Yanez is in need of a step up in competition and this is a big one. At some point, Yanez's durability is not going to hold up and his style of mixing it up to land big counters will get him caught. Absorbing roughly 5.5 strikes per minute while landing 6.5 is not a long-term recipe for success. For now, it is working for Yanez and Font doesn't have Yanez's ability to absorb strikes without being affected. Yanez should be able to get the job done here with his counters.
Gilbert Burns vs. Jorge Masvidal
Under 2.5 rounds (-135)
Things don't look good for Masvidal heading into this fight. Burns is a terrible opponent from a stylistic perspective. Masvidal finds himself in another situation where he has to find a way to land a big shot that does real damage. To get there, he has to navigate Burns' own power on the feet while also avoiding Burns taking him to the mat and dominating the fight. If Burns wins, it's likely to be dominant and that should lead to a big finish. If Masvidal wins, it's almost certainly going to be by stoppage. Speaking with the "Morning Kombat" crew, Burns said he was gunning for a big finish, adding a little more reason to believe the price is good here.
Alex Pereira (c) vs. Israel Adesanya
Alex Pereira to win via KO, TKO or DQ (+190)
It does make sense to ride with Adesanya here. Looking at their three previous bouts across kickboxing and MMA, Adesanya has gotten the better of things across the majority of that shared fight time. Adesanya arguably deserved the decision in the first kickboxing fight, was winning the rematch before a brutal Pereira knockout shot and was again winning in the UFC cage before Pereira got the stoppage. It's just a pairing where the bulk of the fight doesn't matter because Pereira has truly special power. Could Adesanya fight smarter and safer this time around, maybe employing more takedowns to take Pereira out of his element? Sure. But Pereira's leg kicks are a huge factor, as Adesanya admitted after their UFC bout. The odds are what they are for a reason, but why go against history? Pereira has Adesanya's number. It's as simple as that.
Who wins Pereira vs. Adesanya at UFC 287? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 287, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $6,200 in 2022, and find out.