Israel Adesanya will bid to regain the UFC middleweight title from Alex Pereira in April, when the old rivals clash in the main event of UFC 287.
Pereira recorded two victories over Adesanya during the pair’s kickboxing careers, with one win via knockout, and the Brazilian’s rapid rise in mixed martial arts culminated in a TKO of Adesanya in November.
That fifth-round result, with Adesanya ahead on the scorecards at the time, saw Pereira take the UFC middleweight belt from “The Last Stylebender”, who had never before been beaten in the division.
The pair are now set to meet in the ring for the fourth time and in the Octagon for the second, when they go head to head in the main event of UFC 287 on 8 April.
Pereira, 35, is 7-1 in MMA, having fought just four times in the UFC. Meanwhile, Nigerian-born New Zealander Adesanya is 23-2. The 33-year-old’s first defeat in the sport came on points while he challenged for the UFC light-heavyweight title in 2021.
Adesanya looked to be on course to avenge his kickboxing defeats by Pereira in their bout at UFC 281 in November, rocking the Brazilian badly at the end of the first round and entering the final round ahead on the judges’ scorecards. However, Pereira’s infamous left hook hurt Adesanya early in the final round and initiated a rally that led to a stoppage against the fence.
No venue has yet been confirmed for UFC 287, but the co-main event has been revealed as Jorge Masvidal makes his return after a year away, taking on fellow welterweight contender Gilbert Burns.
Masvidal last fought in March 2022, suffering a decision loss to friend-turned-rival Colby Covington. Three weeks later, Masvidal was charged with felony battery over an alleged assault of his fellow American in Miami.
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