UFC 281 predictions: Who are we picking in the two title fights in New York?

Adesanya
vs.
Pereira

Esparza
vs.
Weili

Chandler
vs.
Poirier

Edgar
vs.
Gutierrez

Hooker
vs.
Puelles

MMA Junkie readers’
consensus picks
176-105

adesanya2022


Adesanya
(51%)

weili2022


Weili
(86%)

poirier2022


Poirier
(69%)

gutierrez2022


Gutierrez
(64%)

hooker2022


Hooker
(55%)

Ken Hathaway
@kenshathaway
187-99

trophy copy

2018 Champion

adesanya2022


Adesanya

weili2022


Weili

poirier2022


Poirier

gutierrez2022


Gutierrez

puelles2022


Puelles

Abbey Subhan
@kammakaze
180-106

adesanya2022


Adesanya

esparza2022


Esparza

poirier2022


Poirier

gutierrez2022


Gutierrez

puelles2022


Puelles

Matthew Wells
@MrMWells
179-107

adesanya2022


Adesanya

weili2022


Weili

poirier2022


Poirier

gutierrez2022


Gutierrez

puelles2022


Puelles

Farah Hannoun
@Farah_Hannoun
176-110

adesanya2022


Adesanya

weili2022


Weili

poirier2022


Poirier

edgar2022


Edgar

hooker2022


Hooker

Mike Bohn
@MikeBohn
175-111

trophy copy

2014 Champion

adesanya2022


Adesanya

weili2022


Weili

poirier2022


Poirier

gutierrez2022


Gutierrez

puelles2022


Puelles

Matt Erickson
@MMAjunkieMatt
173-113

pereira2022


Pereira

weili2022


Weili

chandler2022


Chandler

edgar2022


Edgar

hooker2022


Hooker

Simon Samano
@SJSamano
173-113

pereira2022


Pereira

esparza2022


Esparza

poirier2022


Poirier

edgar2022


Edgar

puelles2022


Puelles

Brian Garcia
@thegoze
167-119

trophy copy

2017 Champion

adesanya2022


Adesanya

weili2022


Weili

chandler2022


Chandler

gutierrez2022


Gutierrez

puelles2022


Puelles

Nolan King
@mma_kings
166-120

adesanya2022


Adesanya

weili2022


Weili

poirier2022


Poirier

gutierrez2022


Gutierrez

hooker2022


Hooker

George Garcia
@MMAjunkieGeorge
157-129

adesanya2022


Adesanya

esparza2022


Esparza

chandler2022


Chandler

edgar2022


Edgar

puelles2022


Puelles

Danny Segura
@dannyseguratv
140-146

adesanya2022


Adesanya

weili2022


Weili

chandler2022


Chandler

gutierrez2022


Gutierrez

puelles2022


Puelles

The UFC is back in the “Big Apple” with a pair of title fights at the top of the bill.

UFC 281 takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) puts his title on the line against Alex Pereira (6-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who holds two wins over him in kickboxing. Adesanya is a -220 favorite at Tipico Sportsbook; the comeback on Pereira is +170. Our 11 editors, writers, radio hosts and videographers largely are sticking with the champ at a big 9-2 clip.

In the co-feature, women’s strawweight champ Carla Esparza (19-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) defends the title for the first time in her second stint as champion when she meets former titleholder Zhang Weili (22-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC). Weili is the biggest favorite on the main card at 4-1 and has a big 8-3 picks lead.

Also on the main card, former Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler (23-7 MMA, 2-2 UFC) meets former UFC interim champ Dustin Poirier (28-7 MMA, 20-6 UFC). Poirier is more than a 2-1 favorite at the betting window and has a 7-4 edge in the picks.

Former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar (24-10-1 MMA, 18-10-1 UFC) will fight for what is likely to be the final time when he takes on Chris Gutierrez (18-3-2 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC) at bantamweight. Gutierrez is a -230 favorite and has a 7-4 picks lead.

And to open the main card, Dan Hooker (21-12 MMA, 11-8 UFC) takes on Claudio Puelles (12-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) at lightweight. Hooker is the favorite at -165, but Puelles is bucking the betting trend and has a big 8-3 lead from our staff members.

In the MMA Junkie reader consensus picks, Adesanya (51 percent), Weili (86 percent), Poirier (6z9 percent), Gutierrez (64 percent) and Hooker (55 percent) are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 214.

List

UFC 281 commentary team, broadcast plans set: Joe Rogan returns after two months

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie