Headlined by two title fights, UFC 281 is set to get underway on Saturday night from Madison Square Garden. Some fight fans have said that this card, in reality, has three featured bouts as the 155lb bout between Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler, which has been billed as "The People's Main Event". The two fights where gold will be on the line start as the two-time and defending strawweight champ Carla Esparza will make the first defense of her second reign and is the underdog to another former champion, Zhang Weili. Israel Adesanya will defend his throne as the long-time reigning king in the 185 lb. division against a familiar opponent in Alex Pereira. Although he is a newcomer to the UFC, Pereira has defeated Adesanya in his mixed martial arts career, beating him twice in the Glory Kickboxing promotion.
UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira Odds
Date: Saturday, Nov. 12; 10 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, NYC
Bet on UFC Fight Night at SI Sportsbook
Early Prelims (6 p.m. ET)
Carlos Ulberg (-135) vs. Nicolae Negumereanu (+110)
Julio Arce (+175) vs. Montel Jackson (-215)
Michael Trizano (+145) vs. Choi Seung-Woo (-175)
Karolina Kowalkiewicz (-110) vs. Silvana Gomez Juarez (-110)
Matt Frevola (+120) Vs. Ottman Azaitar (-145)
Prelims (8 p.m. ET)
Andre Petroski (-190) vs. Wellington Turman (+155)
Erin Blanchfield (-400) vs. Molly McCann (+310)
Dominick Reyes (-213) vs. Ryan Spann (+175)
Brad Riddell (+100) vs. Renato Moicano (-120)
Main Card (10 p.m. ET)
Dan Hooker (-165) vs. Claudio Puelles (+140)
Frankie Edgar (+190) vs. Chris Gutierrez (-225)
Dustin Poirier (-215) vs. Michael Chandler (+175)
Carla Esparza (+310) vs. Zhang Weili (-400)
Israel Adesanya (-215) vs. Alex Pereira (+175)
SI Producer Doug Vazquez
After a bunch of title defenses that critics have labeled as boring and slow, we will finally see Israel Adesanya have to engage in a war and go to deep waters if he wants to defend his title against his long-time nemesis, Alex Pereira. Pereira notably has two wins over Adesanya, with one knockout in fights in Glory Kickboxing before the two made their way into the UFC. I ultimately think that Pereira will come away with the win here with a KO, but regardless of who wins, I don't see a likely scenario where this goes the distance. Both fighters possess finishing ability and power and will not make it to the scorecards.
BET: Fight to go the distance (NO, -111)
SI MMA Writer Justin Barrasso
UFC 281 is Israel Adesanya's chance to rewrite his narrative with Alex Pereira.
Pereira is a great, phenomenally skilled kickboxer who earned those two wins against Adesanya. But the Octagon is Adesanya's domain. The best middleweights across the globe have yet to beat him, and Adesanya has more than enough tools to wear down Pereira with his grappling.
Adesanya knows all about Pereira's knockout. Saturday may be a chance for Adesanya to finally show Pereira his own.
BET: Adesanya by KO (+350)
SI Video’s Julian Pinto
I am really excited about the Dustin Poirier-Michael Chandler match. This will be a 15-minute slugfest, and Poirier will get the edge. Michael Chandler does a great job of closing distance, as you saw when he knocked out Dan Hooker in his UFC debut. The problem he will face is Poirier's boxing. Poirier has very good boxing, and as you saw in his fight with Max Holloway, he does a good job of striking in the pocket. Poirier can maintain the edge in the fight if he can nullify Chandler's blitzes. Poirier will get the finish against Chandler later in the bout.
BET: Poirier by KO +138
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• A World of Possibilities Awaits Dustin Poirier at UFC 281