UFC 287: Israel Adesanya knocks out Alex Pereira, Jorge Masvidal retires after loss

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/04/08/ufc-287-alex-pereira-vs-israel-adesanya-2-jorge-masvidal-vs-gilbert-burns/

UFC 287 Report: Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2 results

Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of UFC 287 from the Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida. The card was headlined by Alex Pereira, attempting to mount the first defense of his UFC Middleweight Championship against Israel Adesanya, the man he defeated for that title in November of 2022. Pereira previously defeated Adesanya twice in the world of kickboxing, and after an impressive start to his run in the UFC, Pereira was given a UFC title shot against Adesanya last November. Adesanya was up on the scorecards heading into the fifth and final round, but Pereira began to turn on the pressure late, and he managed to stop Adesanya to take his title in the fights final round. Despite Pereira effectively owning a 3-0 record against Adesanya, Adesanya entered this fight as the betting favorite, looking to recement himself as the best middleweight in the world today, as Pereira looked to prove that his trio of wins were far from flukes. This card also featured a notable bout in the welterweight division, as Jorge Masvidal fought Gilbert Burns. Both fighters were removed from title contention after losses to then-champion Kamaru Usman, but Leon Edwards’ title win has reopened the door for many welterweight contenders, Masvidal and Burns included. While Colby Covington has been pushed by the UFC as Edwards’ next title challenger, a strong performance from either of these men could throw that into question, and provide either Burns or Masvidal with one last shot at UFC gold. The commentary team for this card consisted of Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Daniel Cormier.

QUICK RESULTS:

PRELIMINARY CARD:

  • Sam Hughes def. Jaqueline Amorim by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
  • Steve Garcia def. Shayilan Nuerdanbieke by KO at 0:36 of Round 2
  • Ignacio Bahamondes def. Trey Ogden by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Loopy Godinez def. Cynthia Calvillo by split decision (29-28, 30-27, 28-29)
  • Joseph Pyfer def. Gerald Meerschaert by TKO at 3:15 of Round 1
  • Luana Pinheiro def. Michelle Waterson-Gomez by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
  • Kelvin Gastelum def. Chris Curtis by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

MAIN CARD

  • Christian Rodriguez def. Raul Rosas Jr. by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
  • Kevin Holland def. Santiago Ponzinibbio by KO at 3:16 of Round 3
  • Rob Font def. Adrian Yanez by TKO at 2:57 of Round 1
  • Gilbert Burns def. Jorge Masvidal by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

JAQUELINE AMORIM (6-0, 115.5) VS SAM HUGHES (7-5, 116) – STRAWWEIGHT

Amorim connected with a pair of right hands to begin the fight. Hughes pressed forward but was walking into heavy right hands whenever she closed the distance. Amorim changed levels, taking Hughes to the ground with just under four minutes to work. Amorim quickly took the back of Hughes, but Hughes scrambled out from under her, and returned to her feet, landing a solid elbow in the process. It did not take Amorim long to get the fight back to the ground however, and this time she was able to lock in a rear naked choke fairly quickly. It looked as though the fight was over, but Hughes successfully fought off the choke, twice over. It was an extremely impressive submission defense from Hughes, but this was a clear round for Amorim. 10-9 Amorim.

Amorim attempted to pull guard at the start of round two, to no success. Hughes stuffed a takedown attempt, taking top position as Amorim was content to work from her guard. Eventually, the fighters returned to their feet, and Amorim was looking exhausted, pulling guard whenever Hughes got close. Hughes would follow Amorim to the ground, where she threw short ground and pound strikes from Amorim’s guard. Hughes finished the round with a takedown, putting an exclamation mark on what was a one-sided round. 19-19.

Hughes continued to pressure forward in the final round, forcing Amorim to shoot for a takedown after Hughes connected with a right hand. Amorim looked as though she had absolutely nothing left in her gas tank, and she was biting on every feint that Hughes was putting out there. Hughes eventually took back top position on the ground, where she threw down solid hammerfists. Amorim found very little offensive success in this round, and I thought this was another clear round for Hughes. 29-28 Hughes.

WINNER: Sam Hughes by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

Amorim looked great in the first round, dominating Hughes on the ground, where she had a clear advantage. It looked as though Amorim was going to finish the fight multiple times, but Hughes weathered the storm, and Amorim had absolutely nothing left by round two. All six of Amorim’s prior professional fights had ended in the first round, and she just did not have the three-round experience needed to hang with Hughes here, a fighter with very solid cardio. Hughes is now 3-4 in the UFC following this win.

SHAYILAN NUERDANBIEKE (39-10, 146) VS STEVE GARCIA (13-5, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT

A quick low blow to Nuerdanbieke brought a pause to the action in the fight’s opening seconds. As the fight resumed, Nuerdanbieke floored Garcia with one of the hardest right hands you’ll see. Nuerdanbieke followed Garcia to the ground in an attempt to finish the fight, but this allowed Garcia to recover, and the fighters began to grapple against the cage. Nuerdanbieke took Garcia back to the ground, where he spent the next minute or so landing short strikes from top position. With a minute remaining in the round, Garcia escaped to his feet, where he went on the attack as he attempted to make up ground. He had Nuerdanbieke hurt at one point, but Nuerdanbieke was able to threaten a takedown to relieve the pressure before time expired.

Garcia went right back on the attack at the start of the second round, quickly tagging Nuerdanbieke with some heavy shots on the feet. A left hand backed Nuerdanbieke up before Garcia landed a front kick and a left hand to the body that sent Nuerdanbieke to the ground, ending the fight.

WINNER: Steve Garcia by KO at 0:36 of Round 2

Nuerdanbieke had Garcia hurt badly in the fight’s opening seconds, and he seemed to be just moments away from ending the fight. Garcia showcased an impressive level of resiliency to recover, and by the end of the first round, he had turned the tables, putting Nuerdanbieke on the backfoot as Garcia pressured forward with heavy hooks and body shots. It did not take long for the damage from Garcia’s body shots to add up, and less than a minute into the second round, Garcia was able to secure the finish with a heavy combination to the body. Garcia is now 3-2 in the UFC, and all three of those wins have come by way of knockout.

IGNACIO BAHAMONDES (13-4, 159.5) VS TREY OGDEN (16-5, 159.5) – CATCHWEIGHT

The fighters traded jabs and lead hooks, as both fighters tested their range, gauging the timing of their opponent. Bahamondes was landing some solid leg kicks, as was Ogden, who attacked the right leg of Bahamondes whenever he switched stances. Bahamondes seemed to be ahead in terms of activity, especially as the round wore on. Bahamondes was clearly the more comfortable striker, and he utilized his advantage in height and reach to great effect throughout this opening round. 10-9 Bahamondes.

Bahamondes began the second round with a solid one-two after a quick hook landed for Ogden. Ogden threatened a level change, but Bahamondes was wise to it, keeping the fight on their feet. Ogden caught Bahamondes with a solid lead hand to the body at one point, and he was doing a far better job of slowing Bahamondes down throughout this round. This was not the most exciting round, but it was a very competitive one, and I gave the slight edge to Bahamondes, who just seemed to be a bit busier. 20-18 Bahamondes.

Both fighters connected with solid kicks to the body in the opening minute of round three. The activity from Bahamondes continued to be the difference maker in this fight, as Ogden fell far behind on the strike count. Ogden’s lead leg was showing visible signs of damage from the Bahamondes leg kicks, and he just was not offering the output necessary to switch the momentum of this fight. Ultimately, the fight went the distance, and I scored the bout 30-27 in favor of Bahamondes.

WINNER: Ignacio Bahamondes by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Bahamondes had a noticeable advantage in terms of size, and I do not know if Ogden was ever able to completely adapt to the Bahamondes’ reach advantage. Bahamondes fought a patient fight, largely picking Ogden apart from at range, and Ogden was hesitant to step in and potentially eat a counter trying to close the distance. In the end, the difference in offensive output was considerably in favor of Bahamondes, and that is what decided this one. Bahamondes is now 3-1 in the UFC, and he has won three consecutive fights. 

CYNTHIA CALVILLO (9-5-1, 116) VS LOOPY GODINEZ (8-3, 115) – STRAWWEIGHT

Calvillo circled Godinez early, content to trade hands. Godinez seemed to have the advantage in terms of speed and power, landing a number of heavy right hands. Calvillo was dictating the range, however, and the majority of the strike exchanges were being initiated by her. Eventually, Calvillo opted to bring the fight to the ground, where she began to work from top position with less than ninety seconds remaining in the round. Godinez defended herself well and returned to her feet before the horn sounded. 10-9 Godinez.

Godinez defended a takedown attempt from Calvillo to start the second round. The fighters continued to trade strikes on the feet, with Godinez pressuring forward, looking to land heavy right hands, while Calvillo circled, looking to outland Godinez. There was not a considerable amount of damage being dealt by either fighter, but Calvillo seemed to have the advantage in terms of output, which could very well be the difference-maker in an otherwise competitive round. I had the fight scored 19-19 heading into the final round.

The third round continued to play out like the prior two. Godinez was looking for heavy right hands, while Calvillo attempted to keep the distance and outland her opponent on the feet. Calvillo attempted the occasional takedown, but Godinez was able to keep things on their feet. Calvillo’s jab busted open the nose of Godinez and was arguably her best weapon throughout this final round. Once again, this was a very close round, and you could arguably give it to either fighter, but I gave the slight edge to Calvillo. 29-28 Calvillo.

WINNER: Loopy Godinez by split decision (29-28, 30-27, 28-29)

This was a very competitive fight, and it was quite difficult to score. While Calvillo had a considerable edge in terms of activity, she was not connecting with a high percentage of the strikes that she was throwing out, and the actual count for total strikes landed between the fighters ended up being very similar. Godinez certainly seemed to have the edge in terms of power, so it is not hard to see why two of the three judges gave her the edge, but Calvillo did good work as well, doing considerable damage with her jab, keeping Godinez from ever getting too comfortable. Godinez improved to 4-3 in the UFC following this win.

GERALD MEERSCHAERT (35-15, 185.5) VS JOE PYFER (10-2, 185.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT

Pyfer went on the attack immediately, backing Meerschaert up with some heavy right hands in the fight’s opening minute. A huge right hand from Pyfer knocked GM3’s head back, and less than a minute later, a left hook from Pyfer sent Meerschaert to the ground. Pyfer knew Meerschaert was hurt badly, and he swung down heavy right hands as GM3 turtled up until the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Joe Pyfer by TKO at 3:15 of Round 1

Pyfer fought with confidence, and he had a clear advantage in terms of speed and power over Meerschaert on the feet. Meerschaert did his best to catch Pyfer on his way in, but Pyfer was just too quick for him, and eventually, he landed with enough power to floor GM3, and Pyfer gave Meerschaert no room to recover, throwing down ground and pound strikes until referee Marc Goddard stepped in. It was a strong performance for Pyfer against an experienced opponent, and he came across well in his post-fight interview, making the most of his time on the microphone. Pyfer is now 2-0 in the UFC, and he has won both of his fights by first-round knockout.

MICHELLE WATERSON-GOMEZ (18-10, 116) VS LUANA PINHEIRO (10-1, 115.5) – STRAWWEIGHT

Waterson-Gomez partially landed a head kick, which prompted Pinheiro to rush in with a short combination of strikes. Waterson-Gomez landed a solid elbow, before Pinheiro responded with a heavy leg kick. A front kick from Waterson-Gomez sent Pinheiro to the ground, in what was one of the bigger moments of the round. Pinheiro ended the round with a big right hand that seemed to hurt Waterson-Gomez. This was a very close round, and while Pinheiro’s late flurry may have been enough for her to steal the round, I still gave the slight edge to Waterson-Gomez. 10-9 Waterson-Gomez.

A right hand found its target for Waterson-Gomez at the start of round two. A heavy leg kick from Pinheiro stopped Waterson-Gomez in her tracks as she advanced, clearly showing that significant damage had been done by Pinheiro’s kicks. Pinheiro connected with a looping hook that stunned Waterson-Gomez, and she proceeded to chase Waterson-Gomez into the cage where she hunted for a takedown. Waterson-Gomez defended numerous attempts from Pinheiro and eventually landed an elbow as the fighters broke apart. The leg kicks from Pinheiro was still doing significant damage whenever they landed, but Waterson-Gomez was generally able to deter Pinheiro from throwing them with much regularity. 19-19.

Waterson-Gomez changed levels and brought Pinheiro to the ground momentarily in round three, but Pinheiro quickly picked herself up. Pinheiro landed several solid short strikes in the clinch before the fighters separated, where Waterson-Gomez found success with her front kicks. Output was Pinheiro’s enemy in the final round, and I thought Waterson-Gomez won this final round based largely on her edge in terms of activity. 29-28 Waterson-Gomez.

WINNER: Luana Pinheiro by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

Pinheiro threw every strike with significant power and did considerable damage throughout the bout. Ultimately, that edge in terms of perceived damage was likely the difference maker for the judges, as this was a very close fight, where a win for Waterson-Gomez would have been completely justified as well. Both fighters showcased impressive resilience throughout this fight, throwing their strikes with fight-ending intent from the opening seconds of the bout until the final horn. Waterson-Gomez attempted to incorporate grappling into her attack in the fight’s final round, but perhaps it would have been wise to chase after takedowns earlier in the fight, as the late takedowns proved effective in terms of giving Pinheiro pause offensively. I personally gave the slight edge to Waterson-Gomez, as I thought she was a bit more consistent with the effectiveness of her offense throughout rounds one and three, but I took no issues with Pinheiro getting her arm raised here, and Pinheiro will likely take Waterson-Gomez’s spot in the strawweight top ten following this win. 

CHRIS CURTIS (30-9, 186) VS KELVIN GASTELUM (16-8, 1 NC, 185) – MIDDLEWEIGHT

Gastelum looked sharp early in the fight, consistently landing his strikes through the guard of Chris Curtis. Gastelum attacked the lead leg of Curtis as well, giving Curtis a lot of problems throughout the opening minutes of the bout. Curtis weathered the early storm well, and as the round progressed, he began to press forward, landing his own shots with considerable power. Gastelum outstruck Curtis throughout the round, and I thought this was a strong opening five minutes from the former title challenger. 10-9 Gastelum.

Curtis began the second round with a combination of strong hooks, prompting Gastelum to respond with some heavy shots of his own. An accidental clash of heads hurt Curtis, and he turtled up momentarily, allowing Gastelum to just tee off on him as Curtis recovered. A counter left from Curtis found its target back on the feet, following a short combination from Gastelum. Curtis found success digging into the body of Gastelum, but the biggest shots of the round seemed to be coming from Gastelum, who was throwing with considerable power. 20-18 Gastelum.

The fighters continued to trade heavy hands in round three, looking to take the result out of the judges’ hands. Curtis’s combinations were landing with more regularity by this point in the fight, and he was landing some clean shots with considerable power. Gastelum seemed to be a step slower by this third round, looking for the occasional takedown to slow Curtis down, but he remained a game opponent, keeping Curtis from getting too comfortable. Both fighters were swinging like mad men by the fight’s final minute, and Curtis landed some absolute bombs, but Gastelum’s chin held up, and the fight somehow went the distance. 29-28 Gastelum.

WINNER: Kelvin Gastelum by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

This fight was phenomenal. Both fighters were throwing with power throughout the entirety of this fifteen-minute fight, and it is remarkable that this fight went the distance in the end. Gastelum started the fight off strongly, with a clear speed advantage over Curtis, but as the bout wore on, Gastelum began to slow down, and Curtis really went on the attack as he looked to secure a late finish. It was an absolutely tremendous fight and a big win for Kelvin Gastelum after a year and a half away from the octagon. Gastelum had lost five of his last six bouts going into this fight, so this was a much-needed win for the former interim title challenger, and this performance may very well breathe new life into his run at 185 lbs. 

RAUL ROSAS JR. (7-0, 135) VS CHRISTIAN RODRIGUEZ (8-1, 137) – BANTAMWEIGHT

Rodriguez missed weight by 1lb and was fined 20% of his purse.

Rosas Jr. immediately shot for a takedown, but Rodriguez was able to defend the attempt, as the fighters began to wrestle against the cage. Eventually, Rosas Jr. was able to grab a leg and take Rodriguez down, but Rodriguez quickly moved into top position. Rosas Jr. was not content to work from his guard, scrambling to his feet where he started hunting for another takedown. Rosas Jr. worked his way up the back of Rodriguez against the cage, where he locked in a body triangle and started hunting for a rear naked choke, Demian Maia style. Rodriguez did a good job of defending the submission attempts from Rosas Jr. but was unable to shake his opponent off him, and this was a strong round for Rosas Jr. to begin this fight. 10-9 Rosas Jr.

Rodriguez secured a takedown to start the second round, but he was unable to keep Rosas Jr. down for long. Rodriguez connected with a solid knee as Rosas Jr. closed the distance, but Rosas Jr. powered through it and continued to apply pressure. Rosas Jr. attempted to drag Rodriguez down to the ground, but Rodriguez took top position, and he began to work from side control with two and a half minutes remaining in the round. Rodriguez took the back of Rosas Jr. late in the round but was unable to secure the rear naked choke before time expired. 19-19.

Rodriguez cracked Rosas Jr. with a right hand after a failed spinning attack. Rosas Jr. shot for a trio of takedowns, but the attempts were defended, and Rodriguez eventually capitalized, taking full mount on the ground, where he began to throw down strikes. Rodriguez did considerable damage from this position, although Rosas Jr. did enough defensively to keep himself in the fight. Rodriguez allowed Rosas Jr. to his feet in the fight’s final seconds, but he was unable to make something happen before time expired. 29-28 Rodriguez.

WINNER: Christian Rodriguez by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

Rosas Jr. looked solid throughout the first round, overwhelming Rodriguez with his constant pressure, but eventually, that cardio began to fade, and Rodriguez slowly took control of this fight. Rosas Jr. never really let up in terms of his pressure, but he no longer had the energy to follow through on the attempts, and they became repeatedly easier for Rodriguez to stop, which eventually allowed him to capitalize by taking top position, where he did significant damage. Rosas Jr. is a very young fighter, at just eighteen years of age, so I am hardly throwing in the towel on him after a single loss, but a valuable lesson was likely learned here, and Christian Rodriguez picked up his biggest win to date, capitalizing on the hype that Rosas generated going into this one.  

KEVIN HOLLAND (23-9, 1 NC, 170.5) VS SANTIAGO PONZINIBBIO (29-6, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT

Holland circled Ponzinibbio throughout the first round, staying away from Ponzinibbio’s big right hands, while doing a good job of closing the distance to land his shots before retreating. Ponzinibbio found more success whenever he closed the distance with combinations, and he landed a number of solid leg kicks throughout the round as well, but Holland’s size is always a difficult obstacle for welterweights to overcome, and Ponzinibbio was really having to force these big moments. Towards the end of the round, Ponzinibbio caught a kick from Holland, but he held it for too long, and ate some heavy shots before time expired, including a back fist that sent him to the ground momentarily.

The fighters exchanged short hooks throughout the first half of the second round, as Ponzinibbio attempted to chip away at the lead leg of Holland with kicks. Holland’s power continued to keep Ponzinibbio at range, however, and his aggression was allowing him to dictate the pace of the bout. Holland caught Ponzinibbio with some solid counters whenever Ponzinibbio committed to closing the distance, utilizing his reach advantage in impressive fashion.

Ponzinibbio continued to attack the lead leg of Holland in the fight’s final round, knowing that his best chance to win this fight was from the accumulated damage from those kicks. Holland took the shots well, but he was clearly feeling the effects of those shots and seemed to slow offensively as a result. As great as those leg kicks from Ponzinibbio were, time was not on his side, and just as the action seemed to slow, Holland surged forward and landed a huge left hook, sending Ponzinibbio face first to the ground, ending the fight.

WINNER: Kevin Holland by KO at 3:16 of Round 3

Ponzinibbio’s attack on the lead leg of Holland was very effective, but Holland largely did a good job of shutting down the rest of Ponzinibbio’s game, countering well whenever Ponzinibbio attempted to close the distance. Just when it seemed as though the damage from the leg kicks had done enough to weaken Holland’s defense, he surged forward with a powerful hook that ended the fight in a decisive fashion. It was a well-fought fight from Holland against a tough fighter, utilizing all of his advantages to great effect. After the fight, Holland took the fight and called out Jorge Masvidal, challenging him for the “BMF’ title that was awarded to Masvidal after his 2019 win over Nate Diaz. Holland now has a 3-2 record since moving back down to welterweight, breaking a two-fight string of losses with this big knockout victory. 

ROB FONT (19-6, 135) VS ADRIAN YANEZ (16-3, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT

The fighters traded right hands to begin the fight, both finding their range early. Font worked his jab to great effect in the opening minutes, as did Yanez, who caused noticeable swelling below Font’s left eye. A big uppercut from Font got a big reaction out of Yanez, and he went on the attack as he attempted to finish the fight. Yanez attempted to swing back, but a huge right hand from Font floored him, and the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Rob Font by TKO at 2:57 of Round 1

This was a brawl while it lasted, with both fighters exchanging heavy strikes, doing considerable damage quickly. It did not take long for Font to rock Yanez however, and from this point forward, Font gave Yanez no space, just constantly going on the attack until he eventually dropped Yanez hard, finishing the fight in impressive fashion. It was a much-needed win for Font, who was coming off a pair of tough losses against Jose Aldo and Marlon Vera, which were both fighters where he looked very good, but his chin was tested repeatedly, and he took a concerning amount of damage between the two fights. After the fight, Font emphasized how relieved he was to get back on track with a finish here, and stated that he wants to get back to fighting the top-ranked contenders of the division in his next bout.


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