UFC 287: Israel Adesanya to face Alex Pereira in middleweight title rematch April 8
The UFC middleweight title rematch everyone was expecting is coming in April.
New UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira will face Israel Adesanya, whom he beat for the belt by TKO in November, at UFC 287 on April 8, UFC president Dana White announced Friday. The venue for the event remains unannounced.
ABSOLUTELY STACKED 🚨@DanaWhite announces the full lineup for #UFC287 in April and it's HUGE! pic.twitter.com/0kPaRTCABA
— UFC (@ufc) January 27, 2023
Pereira captured the title in shocking fashion at UFC 281 after entering the bout with three career UFC fights to his name and a career record of 6-1.
Adesanya, then the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter on the UFC's official rankings, was ahead on all three judges' scorecards heading into the fifth and final round, but then Pereira wobbled him with a hard right and took the victory with a flurry of blows to the stunned champion.
The loss was Adesanya's first as a middleweight, as he had previously defended his belt against Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, Marvin Vettori, Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier. His lone loss came when he went for dual-belt status against light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz.
The run-up to the Pereira fight saw plenty of discussion about the challenger's two wins, one by KO, over Adesanya back when the two were competing as kickboxers, and the rematch will see Adesanya confronting an 0-3 record between sports.
Pereira had also been making noise about facing new UFC light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill, who dominated Pereira's mentor, Glover Teixeira, last weekend for the belt vacated by Jiří Procházka, but this was obviously the fight to make.
UFC 287 co-main event: Jorge Masvidal to face Gilbert Burns
There will be plenty of other notable bouts April 8, including Jorge Masvidal's return to the Octagon after a year-plus off following his loss to Colby Covington.
The welterweight remains one of MMA's more popular fighters despite three straight losses — the Covington fight and two failed title shots against Kamaru Usman — and will now face another quality opponent in Gilbert Burns.
Burns is coming off a first-round submission win over Neil Magny at last weekend's UFC 283.
Other matchups include another welterweight fight between Kevin Holland and Santiago Ponzinibbio, a bantamweight fight between Rob Font and Adrian Yanez and a middleweight fight between Gerald Meerschaert and Joe Pyfer.