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Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya

Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya 2, Jorge Masvidal vs Gilbert Burns headline UFC 287 in April

The UFC continues to kick off the 2023 calendar with massive fights in the first half of the year. On Friday evening, UFC President Dana White announced an entire lineup of must-see fights for UFC 287, scheduled for April 8. The main event for the pay-per-view event will be a rematch for the UFC middleweight title between reigning champion Alex Pereira against former champion Israel Adesanya.

Back at UFC 281 in November, Alex Pereira claimed gold from Adesanya in a thrilling comeback fifth-round victory against the previously undefeated middleweight champion. Although Adesanya had lost in his light-heavyweight division debut, he had been undefeated since joining the UFC’s middleweight division, claiming the title, and defending his belt five times during his tenure as champion.

While he was defending his title, his former kickboxing rival, Pereira, was making the move to MMA and signed with the UFC in 2021, where he would pick up three straight victories en route to his title fight opportunity. He would make the most of his meeting with the champion, dethroning him and claiming UFC gold and picking up his third victory over Adesanya, two which came in kickboxing, and one on the biggest stage in the UFC.

Earlier this week, the reigning champion said he would be open to a rematch with Adesanya for his first title defense, or a fight against former champion Robert Whittaker, and now we know it’ll be the former for the champion in April.

Also announced by Dana White on Friday evening was the co-main event for the UFC 287 fight card which will see ‘BMF’ champion and former welterweight title challenger Jorge Masvidal take on Gilbert Burns. Coming off a first-round victory over Neil Magny earlier this month at UFC 283, Gilbert Burns will have the biggest marquee matchup of his career thus far outside of Khamzat Chimaev, when he takes on Masvidal. The win over Magny snapped a two-fight skid for Burns, who will make a relatively quick turnaround and look to claim his spot at the top of the welterweight division.

Having been out of action since UFC 272, it’ll have been 13 months since Masvidal competed inside the UFC Octagon and will be looking to snap a three-fight skid, two of which have come in title fight opportunities against former champion Kamaru Usman. Despite his long layoff, a win over Burns would cement Masvidal’s place as a top contender in the welterweight division. Just two days ago, Masvidal took to Twitter to say exciting fight news was coming soon, and on Friday, the matchup against Burns was announced.

Following the announcement of the two feature fights for the UFC 287 card, Dana White also announced a few more fights that are official for the card and those fights are listed below as well as the entire scheduled card so far:

  • Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya
  • Jorge Masvidal vs Gilbert Burns
  • Michelle Waterson-Gomez vs Luana Pinheiro
  • Kelvin Gastelum vs Chris Curtis
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs Lupita Godinez
  • Ignacio Bahamondes vs Nikolas Motta
  • Raul Rosas Jr vs Christian Rodriguez
  • Kevin Holland vs Santiago Ponzinibbio
  • Rob Font vs Adrian Yanez
  • Gerald Meerschaert vs Joe Pyfer
  • Steve Garcia vs Shayilan Nuerdanbieke

There was no location announced for the event, but there is speculation it could be in Miami or New York City, though nothing is confirmed. As 2023 begins, the UFC continues to load up their pay-per-view events with fan-favorite fights and marquee championship matchups.

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