Tomorrow the UFC invades the Big Apple for UFC 281. Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya put his title on the line against challenger Alex Pereira. In the co-main event, Carla Esparza meets former Strawweight champion Zhang Weili.
The Lightweight title picture will become clearer as Dustin Poirier takes on Michael Chandler.
Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya vs Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira
As mentioned before, these two fighters are no strangers to each other. They have fought twice before in a kickboxing ring. In those two fights, Pereira emerged victorious. However, this is MMA, and Adesanya is a different, more experienced fighter. People have been saying that Adesanya will point fight, and that’s not an evil game plan. He will be wise to stay away from Pereira’s left hook.
Pereira is going to have to move forward and pressure the champ. Adesanya’s movement proved a problem in their kickboxing bouts, and in the second fight, Pereira’s forward movement got him the knockout win. He also needs to remember that this is MMA and can take the fight to the floor if he gets close enough.
It may be the Champion’s most formidable challenge, but it’s still hard to see him losing.
Betting Odds on Neds: Israel Adesanya $1.44 Alex Pereira $2.85
Carla ‘The Cookie Monster’ Esparza vs Zhang Weili
It has been a long road back to the championship for Esparza, but she once again rose to the top of the mountain. Her first title defence is hard, taking on the former champ in Weili. It has been shown in the past that Esparza struggles with strikers, and Weili is as dangerous as they come. She is going to have to use her wrestling to win this one. She may have to eat a few shots to get the takedowns and be careful not to get knocked out.
Weili will have to keep the fight on the feet to win this one. She has proven she can knock out people before, and she will need to do that here. It may just be another short reign for the Champion, but anything can happen in this sport.
Betting Odds on Neds: Carla Esparza $3.75 Zhang Weili $1.28
Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier vs Michael Chandler
These two fighters have been on a collision course since Chandler joined the UFC. Poirier has fought for the Lightweight title twice and lost twice. However, there is a new Champion in Islam Makhachev, so here is his chance to get back to the top of the heap. Poirier has faced tough competition throughout his career but has always faulted at the final hurdle. He needs a convincing win here to be back in title contention.
Chandler is a great fighter.; he proved that in Bellator. Now, he is in the biggest promotion in the world, and he needs that breakthrough win, and there is no bigger scalp than Dustin Poirier. He needs to apply pressure on Poirier from the beginning of the fight, as he has crumbled under it. This fight has the potential to be the fight of the night.
Betting Odds on Neds: Dustin Poirier $1.44 Michael Chandler $2.85
Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar vs Chris ‘El Guapo’ Gutierrez
Frankie Edgar has been a warrior for many, many years. It’s hard to believe that he was once the Lightweight king, and now he is fighting in the Bantamweight division. His last fight was hard to watch, and it’s hard for long-time fans of the sport to see a fighter lose that way, so it would be nice for Edgar to win here.
Since his loss on the Ultimate Fighter Finale, Gutierrez has been on a tear, winning six fights and having one draw. A convincing win over Edgar here will move ‘El Guapo’ up the ladder, but he must be cautious of the veteran.
Betting Odds on Neds: Frankie Edgar $2.95 Chris Gutierrez $1.40
Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker vs Chris ‘The Prince of Peru’ Puelles
Adesanya’s teammate Hooker kicks off the main card. He has lost two in a row, so a win here is a must. Hooker is a dangerous fight for anyone, and the crowd will be entertained whenever he steps inside the Octagon.
Pulles is looking to take the next step in the Lightweight division. He has won five fights in a row, including a submission win over veteran Clay Guida. Can he notch win number six? We will find out tomorrow.
Betting odds on Neds: Dan Hooker $1.67 Claudio Puelles $2 .20
Enjoy the fights.