UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira preview: Frevola looking to snatch an ‘O’ | Bloody Elbow (2023)

Front Page MMA Editorial UFC 281

The UFC’s annual trip to Madison Square Garden is upon us, a total of 14 fights taking place. The early prelims are short on…

By: Dayne Fox | 5 months ago

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UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira preview: Frevola looking to snatch an ‘O’ | Bloody Elbow (2)

The UFC’s annual trip to Madison Square Garden is upon us, a total of 14 fights taking place. The early prelims are short on big names – as would be expected from early prelims – but they do appear to have some FOTN candidates in there. What is a bit of a surprise is the lack of top prospects at the bottom of the card. Typically, the UFC has tossed in those whom they believe has superstar written all over them. For instance, Ian Machado Garry topped the early prelims in last years MSG showing. This year, it’s Ottman Azaitar and Matt Frevola in that spot. Nobody is seeing future stars in either of those two. Regardless, each of the fights are well-matched, none being a blatantly obvious mismatch.

  • It’s possible Ottman Azaitar lost out on the prime years of his career due to his stupid violation of COVID protocols early in 2021. The UFC initially cut him before bringing him back, but the damage to his reputation at this point is permanent. Azaitar is considered to be a wrestler first, but he has opted to go balls to the wall in looking to get an immediate finish thus far in his UFC career. It has been successful so far, but Teemu Packalan and Khama Worthy have ultimately been determined to be chinny in the first place. That argument could be made about Matt Frevola as well given the aggressive wrestler has been finished within a minute or less in two of his losses. However, in other fights, Frevola has shown a solid chin. Regardless, if both live up to their reputations, this contest has an excellent chance of picking up a FOTN bonus as Frevola is thought to be exceptionally aggressive himself. However, unlike Azaitar, Frevola’s aggression tends to go towards the pursuit of takedowns. He did show pop in his last performance, securing four official knockdowns within a round, but that was the first time his power was manifest in his UFC run. Given Azaitar’s stamina is a huge question mark – he’s only won a single decision in his career in addition to leaving the first round only three times — there’s a good chance Frevola might only need survive the opening round. I think he can. Frevola via submission of RD3

  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz was on her way to having one of the saddest endings to a notable career. Formerly one of the best strawweights on the planet, she endured a five-fight losing streak against increasingly weaker competition, looking worse in each passing contest. On the verge of washing out of the UFC, Kowalkiewicz shook things up with a camp change to ATT and produced immediate results. Her confidence returned and she secured the first finish of her UFC career. Of course, it also came against an opponent whose desire appeared to have extinguished in Felice Herrig, so perhaps an asterisk should be attached to the win. Then again, even if the asterisk is attached, Kowalkiewicz is facing one of the few women on the roster older than herself in Silvana Gomez Juarez. Not that Juarez is without talent. She’s a skilled striker with legit KO power, a rarity in the division. However, she’s also proven to be a fish out of water on the mat, being submitted in the first round in her first two UFC contests. Kowalkiewicz hasn’t shown a great ability to take a contest to the mat, but Gomez hasn’t shown the ability to stuff a takedown either. If Kowalkiewicz has genuinely recovered her confidence – and it looks like she has – she should easily take this contest. There won’t be much shock if Juarez can catch her, Kowalkiewicz at least has some defensive awareness, something that can’t be said about Na Liang. Kowalkiewicz via submission of RD2
  • It doesn’t seem that long ago that Seung Woo Choi had the look of one of the top featherweight prospects. Now, he’s very likely fighting for his UFC employment. It doesn’t appear to be a misjudgment in terms of his physical skills; Choi is still the hard-hitting hulk of a 145er we all thought he was. The question is whether he has developed enough craft to deal with an opponent savvy enough to present a diverse attack. There’s no doubt Mike Trizano can do so, but the former TUF winner has been bonus chasing in his recent contests as opposed to mixing things up, focusing almost entirely on providing a striking battle. He did pick up a FOTN bonus in his last appearance, but he’s also on a two-fight losing streak, just like Choi. Trizano doesn’t have the physical skills to succeed without mixing things up, so he’ll fight himself out of the UFC if he continues down that path. Choi isn’t quite as technically sound as Lucas Almeida, who put Trizano down in the latter’s most recent contest, but he is bigger, stronger, and has more raw power. There’s no guarantee all that will be enough if Trizano fights to the best of his ability, but there’s no guarantee Trizano will do that. Given there’s no guarantee Trizano wins even if he fights a good fight, I’ve got to favor Choi. Choi via TKO of RD3
  • People still tend to think of Montel Jackson as a youthful prospect, but he’s now 4 years removed from his appearance on DWCS and 30-years-old. If the lanky bantamweight is going to make a move, he’s got to get a move on it immediately after a 14-month layoff. No one doubts his talent. The first thing people tend to pick out from him is his impressive punching power, but his wrestling may actually be his biggest strength. We’ll know for a fact if it’s the real deal if he can get Julio Arce down given Arce’s takedown defense has been stellar thus far in his UFC run. Arce has been reluctant to wrestle himself, preferring to utilize his tight boxing instead. There were some concerns Arce might have his gas tank stunted when he dropped down to 135, but three fights in and there’s no ill-effects to be seen thus far. In fact, it could be argued Arce turned in the best performance of his career in his most recent win. However, he’s also 33, an age when many men his size begin to start their decline. If Arce can stave off Jackson’s takedowns, he is by far the more disciplined striker and would likely outpoint Jackson. However, the threat of Jackson’s wrestling alone might be enough to open up Jackson’s striking enough for him to test Arce’s chin. I think Jackson’s wrestling will find more success than just being a threat. Jackson via decision
  • If you were to line up all the light heavyweights on the UFC roster in a row, Carlos Ulberg would be picked out of the lineup more often than not as the physical protype. Tall and chiseled, he even has the Hollywood good looks that cause women to swoon. Ulberg isn’t without talent either, having a successful kickboxing career before turning full-time to MMA. He’s still raw in terms of his wrestling and grappling, raw enough that he can worn down if forced to commit to it too much. You’d better believe Nicolae Negumereanu will look to do just that as the Romanian is proving to be most effective in getting his type of fight. He needs to as he isn’t anything special in terms of his physical talents –he’s on the smaller side for the division in addition to being an average athlete at best – but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone with his combination of will, stamina, and durability. Negumereanu hasn’t faced someone with the striking skill of Ulberg, so a KO isn’t out of the question, but that’s only if Ulberg can keep the fight at a distance. Negumereanu is going to do everything in his power to ensure it doesn’t stay there. Negumereanu via TKO of RD3
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    BLOCKBUSTER TWO TITLE-FIGHT SHOWDOWN! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to MSG (Madison Square Garden) in NYC, NY, on Sat. NOV. 12, 2022, with a must-see thriller that will see perennial fan favorite, No. 1 ranked Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya (23-1), battle No. 3 division ranked contender, Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira (6-1), for the UFC Middleweight Championship. Meanwhile, in UFC 281’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, we get the current and two-timeUFC Strawweight Champion, Carla ‘The Cookie Monster’ Esparza (19-6), defending her title opposite Zhang Weili (22-3). These bouts will be preceded by an exciting Lightweight barnburner between Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier and ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler, in a must-see barnburner.

    Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

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    UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira preview: Frevola looking to snatch an ‘O’ | Bloody Elbow (3)

    Dayne Fox

    Dayne Fox is a contributing writer and analyst for Bloody Elbow. He has been writing about combat sports since 2013 and a member of Bloody Elbow since 2016. Dayne primarily contributes opinion pieces and event coverage. Dayne’s specialties are putting together the preview articles for all the UFC events and post-fight analysis. Outside of writing on combat sports, Dayne works in the purchasing department of a construction company, formerly working as an analyst. He is also a proud husband and father. In what spare time he can find, he enjoys strategy games and is a movie enthusiast. He is based in Utah.

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    UFC 287 staff picks and predictions

    Tim Bissell | April 7

    Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2 (or 4) preview - Will the rivalry conclude?

    Dayne Fox | April 7


    How many times has Adesanya lost to Pereira? ›

    Alex Pereira beat Adesanya three times, twice in kickboxing and twice by knockout.

    How much is UFC 281 Adesanya vs Pereira PPV? ›

    Alex Pereira PPV price: How much does UFC 281 cost? In the U.S., the UFC 281 main card is available via pay-per-view on ESPN+, which also requires a subscription. The PPV price for UFC 281 is $74.99 for current subscribers.

    Where can I watch Adesanya and Pereira fight? ›

    All UFC pay-per-view (PPV) events are shown exclusively on ESPN+. That means you'll need to get a subscription to ESPN+ (if you don't already have one) and purchase the PPV livestream through your account to watch UFC 287: Pereira vs. Adesanya 2.

    What was in Ottman Azaitar bag? ›

    That person dropped off a bag on their hotel balcony. Azaitar's manager later revealed it was potatoes in the bag, but when asked in a recent interview with MMA Underground what was inside, Azaitar said he wasn't even involved.

    Has Pereira ever beaten Adesanya? ›

    Before he scored a TKO win for the welterweight belt in UFC 281 in November, Pereira had defeated Adesanya twice in kickboxing.

    Did Alex Pereira knockout Israel Adesanya twice? ›

    Pereira beat Adesanya via fifth-round TKO to win the title at UFC 281 last November at Madison Square Garden. Pereira also beat Adesanya twice in kickboxing, the most recent time by knockout in 2017. He's the only man to ever knock Adesanya out. "They said revenge is sweet," Adesanya said.

    How much did Adesanya make per fight? ›

    Per The Sports Daily, Adesanya earned about $153,000 in his UFC debut in 2018. When he fought Anderson Silva at UFC 234 in 2019, Adesanya reportedly earned about $178,000.

    How much is UFC 280 pay per? ›

    The PPV price for UFC 280 is $74.99 for current subscribers.
    MORE: Sign up to watch the UFC 280 PPV, exclusively on ESPN+
    UFC PPV Standalone$74.99 each
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    Oct 21, 2022

    How much does UFC 281 cost pay-per-view? ›

    You'll be taken to our pay-per-view event purchase screen, where you can review event details such as price ($79.99) and submit your order.

    How much does it cost to buy a UFC fight? ›

    Every Fight Night comes with your ESPN+ subscription, while PPV events cost an additional $79.99 per event. Whether you purchase a PPV event or not, all UFC PPV events become available for replay to all ESPN+ subscribers 16 days after the initial event.

    How much does UFC cost? ›

    The PPV price for UFC 285 is $79.99 for current subscribers.
    MORE: Sign up to watch the UFC 285 PPV, exclusively on ESPN+
    ESPN+ Annual Subscription$99.99/year
    The Disney Bundle w/Hulu Ad-Supported$12.99/month
    The Disney Bundle w/Hulu No-Ads$19.99/month
    UFC PPV Standalone$79.99 each
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    Mar 3, 2023

    How much is Adesanya vs Pereira? ›

    The latter now seeks revenge at UFC 287. Pereira defends the UFC middleweight title against the former champion on April 8.
    MORE: Sign up to watch the UFC 287 PPV, exclusively on ESPN+
    UFC PPV Standalone$79.99 each
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    Apr 5, 2023

    What was Adesanya carrying? ›

    UFC star Israel Adesanya arrested for carrying brass knuckles at JFK: police.

    What happened to Azaitar? ›

    The undefeated middleweight returns to competition for the first time since September 2020, a hiatus that was in no small part to Azaitar being removed from the UFC's January 2021 pay-per-view in Abu Dhabi for violation of COVID-19 protocol.

    What UFC fighter donated his purse? ›

    But despite the gesture from his boss, "Thug Nasty" insisted upon donating half his purse anyway. “Dana White came up to me after the fight and said, 'Don't give your money, I'm going to give the $45,000,'" Mitchell told press following UFC 272.

    Who did Alex Pereira lose 3 times to? ›

    On Wednesday, Pereira officially announced his move to the light heavyweight division after losing the UFC middleweight championship to Israel Adesanya at UFC 287. Adesanya scored a cathartic measure of revenge against Pereira in Miami, knocking out the man who beat him three times across kickboxing and MMA.

    What did Adesanya say to Pereira? ›

    "You're a great champion, and forever. Doesn't matter what anyone else says, you're always a champion. You'll always have that, and I'll always respect you" Adesanya can be heard saying to Pereira, with the help of a translator.

    How many times has Izzy lost? ›

    In kickboxing, he is a former Glory Middleweight Championship title challenger. As of March 21, 2023, he is #5 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings.
    Israel Adesanya
    By knockout29
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    Who is favorite in Adesanya vs Pereira? ›

    It may not come as a surprise that Adesanya is a slight favorite considering that he was up 3-1 on the judges' scorecards in their first fight at UFC 281 before he was stopped late in Round 5.

    Who has Adesanya lost to? ›


    In the only two losses he has, Adesanya lost against Blachowicz with a unanimous decision, while Periera knocked out the five-time title defender.

    Who won between Adesanya vs Pereira 2? ›

    Main Event: Israel Adesanya defeats Alex Pereira by KO (right hand) at 4:21 of Round 2. Israel Adesanya is the UFC middleweight champion again after knocking out Alex Pereira in the second round.

    How rich is Adesanya? ›

    As of April 2023, Israel Adesanya has an estimated net worth of $4 Million. He has earned substantial amounts of money from his fights in the UFC, where he has become a well-known fighter and a former champion in his division.

    How much was Israel Adesanya paid for UFC 281? ›

    $1 million

    How much is Masvidal getting paid? ›

    Promoted Stories. Masvidal was paid $500,000 to show for his last fight against Kamaru Usman at UFC 261, also taking home a $300,000 share of the pay-per-view sales for his knockout loss.

    How much did Khabib make against McGregor? ›

    "Khabib probably made $10m. Conor [McGregor] makes probably $15-20m base.

    How much does Khabib make per fight? ›

    Before 'The Eagle' went gloves up against 'The Notorious' he averaged $114,911 in earnings per fight. His bout with Al Iaquinta got him a considerable bump up at $530,000. That's almost a 5 time increase on his previous fight earnings.

    How much did Islam make UFC? ›

    On the other hand, the UFC featherweight division champion has a contract of $350k for each fight in the organization; but for UFC 284, he will receive a guaranteed payment of $500k.

    Why is UFC PPV so expensive? ›

    Disney, according to the report, says the increase reflects “the value of ESPN+ and the popularity and quality of UFC events.” This would mark the fourth PPV price increase since the UFC struck a lucrative deal with ESPN, with the pay-per-view price going from $59.99 in 2019 to $79.99 in 2023.

    How can I watch UFC PPV in Mexico? ›

    UFC content will be available on Fox Sports and FOX Premium App & TV, FNG Latin America's exclusive entertainment experience, starting May 13th, reaching over 44 million households in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries.

    Are UFC 281 tickets expensive? ›

    UFC 281 tickets can start around $40 and go up to the $2500 range.

    Can I just buy the UFC fight? ›

    Once you have an ESPN+ subscription, you'll need to purchase each PPV fight separately to watch UFC online. UFC PPV matches cost $79.99 each (unless you get the ESPN+ PPV Package, outlined above).

    How many UFC pay per views per year? ›

    It's no secret that the UFC is hoping to grow their business model outward. Most of that is free fights, but a part of it has also been the pay-per-view model. This year the UFC will have put on 16 pay-per-views. Last year there were 15.

    How much do bars pay for UFC PPV? ›

    While it costs about $50 to order a UFC event on pay-per-view in a private residence, it costs bars, restaurants and other commercial establishments $750 to $1,500, depending on their size.

    How much is Jon Jones paid per fight? ›

    $3 million for Jon Jones.

    Jones, a 26-1 fighter, will reportedly make $3 million off the top and receive a portion of the pay-per-view proceeds.

    How much is Dana White's net worth? ›

    In August 2019, White's net worth was estimated at $500 million.
    Dana White
    Known forPresident of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
    SpouseAnne Stella ​ ( m. 1996)​
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    How much is Jon Jones making tonight? ›

    It's likely, Jones will receive a guaranteed purse $2million for the fight as his new deal has made him the second-highest-paid fighter on the roster.

    How much did Drake make Adesanya? ›

    Rapper Drake won $2.7million after Israel Adesanya knocked out Alex Pereira at UFC 287 to reclaim the middleweight title. Adesanya won back the 185lb title just five months after he lost it to his bitter rival Pereira, who has previously beaten him twice in kickboxing.

    How much does it cost to buy UFC 287? ›

    UFC 287 PPV Price: Adesanya vs Pereira 2: UFC 287 headlined by middleweight champion Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya will be available on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+ PPV in the USA. As stated by ESPN, UFC 287 Pereira vs Adesanya 2 will cost $79.99 for US fans.

    Is the Adesanya fight pay-per-view? ›

    Adesanya 2. The event will be live from the Kaseya Center this Saturday, April 8 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT, exclusively on ESPN+ PPV (English and Spanish).

    Is Israel Adesanya a grappler? ›

    It may not be a complete wash, as Adesanya is not a super technical wrestler himself, and actually gave up a takedown of his own against Pereira. But he's a better submission grappler and a more experienced MMA fighter.

    Who is Adesanya sponsored by? ›

    If there was any doubt about Israel Adesanya's star power, it was all eradicated with his 2020 deal with Puma. The sporting apparel brand signed Adesanya to a multi-year contract to become the face of their Oceania region.

    Why is Ngannou leaving UFC? ›

    Ngannou is currently a free agent after failing to come to terms with the UFC on a new deal. As a result, his heavyweight championship was relinquished, and now Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane will battle for the vacant belt in Saturday's UFC 285 headliner at T-Mobile Arena.

    Why did Ngannou leave Cameroon? ›

    He left Cameroon at 26 to try to get to France. Once in Morocco, Spain was his next transit country. "The barbed wire in Melilla, I will never forget it. I have scars everywhere: on my ribs, on my legs, on my feet," Ngannou explained.

    Why did Rafael dos Anjos pull out? ›

    dos Anjos was expected to face Islam Makhachev on October 24, 2020, in dos Anjos' return to the lightweight division at UFC 254. However, on October 8, 2020, it was reported that dos Anjos tested positive for COVID-19 and he was removed from the bout.

    How much did Dana White pay to buy UFC? ›

    In 2001, the Fertitta brothers and White purchased the UFC for $2m and formed Zuffa LLC, a sports promotion company specialising in MMA to coincide with the purchase.

    How much did Usman get paid for UFC 278? ›

    Atop the list of payouts is former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who pocketed $500,000 for his head kick knockout loss to Leon Edwards. Edwards earned $350,000 with his upset victory. Co-headliner winner Paulo Costa earned $130,000 for his win over Luke Rockhold, who earned $200,000.

    How much did Dana White buy the UFC for originally? ›

    A lot of people don't know this, but Dana White rescued the UFC when it was in trouble. On stage at 10X Growth Conference, Dana White shared how he and Lorenzo Fertitta acquired the UFC for $2 million. At the time, Dana was managing Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, who were both employed by the UFC.

    How many times did Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira fight in UFC? ›

    All three meetings with Pereira have ended in a loss for Adesanya, but the loss at UFC 281 would have hurt the most with the UFC middleweight title being put around Pereira's waist.

    How many times has Pereira lost? ›

    Pereira has only lost eight professional fights in his entire professional career.

    How many times Alex Pereira lost? ›

    Mixed martial arts record
    9 matches7 wins2 losses
    By knockout61
    By submission01
    By decision10

    How much is UFC 287 PPV? ›

    The PPV price for UFC 287 is $79.99 for current subscribers. New subscribers can pay a bundle price of $124.98 for the UFC 287 pay-per-view and an ESPN+ annual subscription, which offers savings of more than 30 percent.

    What are the odds for the UFC 287 fight? ›

    The UFC 287 odds from Caesars Sportsbook lists Adesanya as the -135 favorite (risk $135 to win $100), and Pereira is priced at +115. In the co-main event, explosive welterweight contenders collide when Gilbert Burns (-500) takes on Jorge Masvidal (+375).

    How many rounds are there in UFC fight? ›

    UFC fights last either three or five rounds. Regular fights are usually three rounds, while championship fights and main events are five rounds. Each round in the UFC lasts five minutes with a one-minute break in between rounds.

    How much did Israel Adesanya make against Alex Pereira? ›

    Adesaya earned about $1.79 million at UFC 281, while Pereira took home $932k, per Total Sportal. The latter beat Adesaya via TKO and Dana White awarded him a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus.

    How many times did Israel lose Adesanya? ›

    80 matches75 wins5 losses
    By knockout291
    By decision464
    Apr 8, 2023

    Who has the longest reach in UFC history? ›

    Lesnar has a reach of 81 inches which is mind-blowing for a man who is 6'3”. His reach is one of the longest ever measured in the UFC. Luke Rockhold who is also 6'3” like Brock can only boast of a reach of 77 inches. Brock's reach is 6 inches longer than his height giving him a positive ape index of 6 inches.

    Who did Alex lose to? ›

    Since joining the UFC, Alex Pereira has been on a course to face middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. However, in his debut under the Jungle Fight banner, Pereira suffered his only MMA defeat to Quemuel Ottoni.

    How much did Alex Pereira make? ›

    According to reports, in their last bout, Alex Pereira took home a total of $682,000. This included a $300,000 to show, $300,000 win bonus, $50,000 performance bonus, and $32,000 sponsorship bonus.

    Has Alex ever lost? ›

    In 2007, Alex was a chef up against Iron Chef Cat Cora on Iron Chef America, a battle Alex lost. But that didn't stop her from competing.

    What BJJ belt is Alex Pereira? ›

    'He used jiu-jitsu to survive' – Alex Pereira earns BJJ brown belt after UFC 281 title win.

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