Israel Adesanya kept his promise.
After losing to old foe Alex Pereira in November, relinquishing his long-held title, Adesanya said that “it’s not over.” Now, just two months after that upset, the pair are scheduled to meet for their rematch in the main event of UFC 287 on April 8.
Pereira’s name was making noise in headlines when he first entered UFC, and became known as the only man to defeat Adesanya. He recorded two victories over him in kickboxing, and one win was via knockout.
Despite Pereira’s entry to the promotion, both of the fighters said they weren’t looking for a matchup.
But now, since the huge upset, it’s one that MMA fans look forward to the most.
In their November 2022 meeting, Adesanya was up on all scorecards heading into the fifth and final round. But Pereira was able to capitalize on little mistakes made by Adesanya, catching him against the cage, which forced the referee to call off the bout and declare Pereira as the winner.
Adesanya later said they he was waiting to “gas” out his opponent, but he understood why the referee made his call.
It was Adesanya’s first loss in the division. It was his second loss overall in pro MMA – his first was after a failed bid at light heavyweight in 2021 against Jan Blachowicz.
UFC 287’s co-main event is also set.
Jorge Masvidal will make his return against Gilbert Burns.
Masvidal has not fought since a decision loss to heated rival Colby Covington. Three weeks later, Masvidal was charged with felony battery after allegedly assaulting Covington. He was released by posting a $5,000 bond.
Burns most recently submitted Neil Magny in the first round of their fight at UFC 283. The win put him back on track after losing by unanimous decision to Khamzat Chimaev in April.
There has yet to be a venue confirmed for UFC 287.