UFC 281 in New York City in November is headlined by Israel Adesanya against Alex Pereira for the middleweight title. Adesanya is a heavy favorite heading into the bout as he is seen by many as the strongest fighter in the middleweight division by some distance.
The Nigerian is certainly the more experienced fighter in the UFC and will control the title fight from the offset with the aim of winning the contest comfortably either via a knockout or on a points decision. However, Pereira may not have had the most consistent career and in truth not an extremely lengthy career in the UFC but what he does have is dangerous striking potential.
Pereira is incredibly versatile in his striking and will hope to shock Adesanya in a similar fashion to how Leon Edwards knocked out Kamaru Usman back in August.
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) September 18, 2022
Adesanya will of course control the fight and Pereira will have very rare striking opportunities but Pereira may only need a split second to hurt his opponent. Bodog offers the best UFC betting odds for the event in which Adesanya is the overwhelming favorite offered at -170.
Pereira has averaged 6.29 significant strikes in his UFC career so far demonstrating how much of a threat his striking is as well as how frequently he lands strikes on his opponent. Adesanya’s raw power is much stronger however and his knockout rate is nothing short of phenomenal having prevented his opponent from going the distance in 68% of his 24 fights.
It would be remarkable if Pereira were to defeat Adesanya but Edwards has already shocked one of the UFC’s greats in the last few months, and maybe Pereira could follow suit and also produce a huge upset to become a title holder after Adesanya has held the belt for three whole years. Another significant bout on the night is Dustin Poirier’s return to the Octagon against Michael Chandler in a lightweight contest.
Poirier is the huge favorite having proven his worth in recent times by defeating Conor McGregor consecutively; the fight against Chandler should be a routine return for Poirier. The 33-year-old is ranked number two in the lightweight ranking and has the advantage of a higher reach and leg reach for striking opportunities against his opponent.
Poirier boasts a variety of deadly striking techniques as well as being excellent at defending strikes and takedowns from his opponent. It would take something incredibly special for Chandler to stop the high-flying American in November. Another title fight on the night is the women’s strawweight which will be up for grabs between Carla Esparza and Zhang Weili. The American is defending her title and this one is an extremely tough one to call with both having performed extremely consistently in the UFC and holding impressive records.
Carla Esparza announces she will defend gold vs. Zhang Weili at #UFC281 in New York. 🗽
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) August 18, 2022
Both have a similar reach, but Weili is a much superior striker and is certainly more likely to knockout her opponent; however, the stats say when her fights go the distance she tends to lose on points. The fight looks to be a case of whether the Chinese fighter can pick her moment to finish her opponent or whether Esparza can manage the fight until the end.
UFC 281 is to be a stunning occasion with some fighters building up momentum ahead of potential future title fights and some already competing for the biggest prize on the night.