UFC 287: Pereira vs. Adesanya 2 Predictions, Analysis, and Free Picks
We were on the wrong side of three brutal decisions last week, as we close out a first quarter I’ll quickly be putting in the rearview. I don’t think the reads were all terrible, as I’ve done nothing particularly different since going +43.9 units in the two years prior, but sometimes that's just how the cards fall in this racket.
It’s time to quickly move on to the first PPV event of the second quarter, featuring a middleweight title rematch at the top, and a battle for the King of Miami in the co-main.
Over our last three PPV cards, premium subscribers have gone 9-7 (+2.27 units) through 16 total selections.
Before we dive in, here is a quick reminder of how PPV cards differ in coverage and what’s included behind the paywall:
Full access to analysis and selections for Prelims & Main Card
Picks w/ confidence level for every single fight on all three cards
Modeled odds for every single fight on all three cards
Dashboards for every single fight on all three cards
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Location: Kaseya Center, Miami, FL
Early Prelims: 6:00 PM EST - ESPN+
Prelims: 8:00 PM EST - ESPN/ESPN+
Main Card: 10:00 PM EST - ESPN+ PPV
Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs. Steve Garcia
Since losing his UFC debut in 2021, Nuerdanbieke has rattled off three straight wins in the featherweight division, with the first two being decisions before a first-round finish (elbows) of Darrick Minner in November. Despite being just 29 years old, “Wolverine” has 49 professional fights, and in his time before the UFC, many of those were against lower-tier part-time fighters with obscure Asian promotions.
Decent on the ground, “Wolverine” prefers to strike, but he does nothing on his feet that are particularly spectacular either. And that’s where I think he’s truly outmatched in this one.
Of Garcia’s 13 professional wins, 10 have come via KO/TKO, though he has yet to really break through in the UFC going just 2-2 with the promotion. Looking at his losses, a tough opening-fight loss to Luis Pena was followed up with a win before running into Maheshate in June of last year. Bouncing right back with a first-round win vs. Chase Hooper in October, I think we see Garcia put on a similar performance here against an overrated Nuerdanbieke.
With edges across the board everywhere except takedowns, I think the wrong guy is favored in this one.
Pick: Steve Garcia (+175 at BetUS) to risk 1 unit
Karl Williams vs. Chase Sherman
While the Gilbert Burns breakdown/dashboard is behind the Main Card paywall, I’m including this parlay up front as I think the Karl Williams fight will be closer.
Starting off with his opponent Chase Sherman, in his second stint with the UFC, Sherman has amassed a record of just 2-5, as the 33-year-old heavyweight is likely on his way out of the UFC. Over his three runs with the promotion, Sherman has a record of 4-10, but as we see here again, always answers when the UFC calls.
Mostly to his own detriment.
Originally scheduled to take on Chris Barnett, Sherman will now take on DWCS alum Karl Williams who steps into this one on short notice and just 28 days’ rest. With just one professional loss, Williams comes into this bout on a five-fight win streak, earning his first UFC win in March vs. Lukasz Brzeski in a three-round striking clinic.
With a striking accuracy of 61%, Williams possesses higher-than-average striking technicals for the heavyweight division, and I think we see Sherman experience that early and often. Absorbing a staggering 6.85 shots per minute, Sherman has become a punching bag for UFC heavyweights, a trend that likely continues here.
PARLAY: Karl Williams & Gilbert Burns (-192 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 1.92 units
Michelle Waterson-Gomez vs. Luana Pinheiro
The Karate Hottie makes her first walk to the octagon since getting married, as she looks to stop a two-fight slide and has lost four of five. Her sole win since 2019 was a split decision win vs. Angela Hill, a questionable result that many had leaned Hill for before the judge’s decision.
At 37 years old, Waterson’s skills are diminishing in plain sight, as her significant strikes landed per minute have dipped to just 3.6 as she absorbs 4.09 per minute. Her ground game, which had long been the strongest part of her game, is also lacking in this matchup with just 1.43 takedowns per 15 minutes and a takedown accuracy of 33%.
DWCS alum Luana Pinheiro will look to be the latest fighter to send Waterson one fight closer to retirement, as she comes into this fight eight years younger and entering the prime of her career. While the age advantage, in my mind, is canceled out by a layoff of 504 days, the metrics are what seal this one for me.
Coming into this fight with advantages in knockdown average (+1.36), significant strikes landed per minute (+25%), takedown average (4x), and takedown accuracy (2x), I have Pinheiro as a much bigger favorite than the market currently believes.
Pick: Luana Pinheiro (-165 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 1.65 units
All Fights - Picks w/ Confidence Levels & Modeled Odds
All Fights - Dashboards (not found above)
*All odds as of the day of posting.
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