This month’s mainline UFC pay-per-view features a pair of championship bouts with some explosive top-flight action. For your UFC 281 betting needs, SBS has you covered with our breakdown of the two championship fights. In the UFC Middleweight Championship bout of the evening, current champion Israel Adesanya squares off with former kickboxing rival, Alex Pereira. On the women’s side of things, the UFC Strawweight Championship will be contested when current two-time champion Carla Esparza and former champion Zhang Weili lock horns in the octagon.
In this article, SBS will be going over what to expect in the championship bouts, who will win, and some more info to answer all your UFC 281 betting questions.
|UFC 281 Main Event Bouts||The Pick|
|Adesanya vs. Pereira||Adesanya||-172||-172||-172|
|Esparza vs. Zhang||Zhang||-375||-375||-375|
Fighter Spotlight: Israel Adesanya
Recognized as the No. 2 fighter in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings, Adesanya is considered one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport. Pegged by multiple outlets as one of the best strikers in all of MMA, the champion has never been knocked down in all of his UFC competitions. Currently riding a three-fight winning streak over the likes of Jared Cannonier, Robert Whittaker, and Marvin Vettori, the champion will be looking to avenge his prior kickboxing loss to Periera. During that bout in early 2017, the Brazilian was able to get the better of Adesanya via a left hook knockout in the third round. However, a lot has changed since their Glory of Heroes 7 contest five and a half years ago.
Fighter Spotlight: Alex Pereira
Another dangerous fighter, Pereira is a former Glory middleweight and light heavyweight champion. A tremendous kickboxing fighter, the Brazilian has been ranked as the No. 1 fighter in both kickboxing middleweight and light heavyweight rankings. As recently as last month, the 35-year-old was recognized as the No. 4 combatant in the UFC middleweight rankings. Since his UFC debut back in 2021, Pereira has been dominant with a 3-0 record and is coming off a Performance of the Night knockout victory over Sean Strickland at UFC 276. A powerful fighter, this will definitely be his biggest test yet when he squares off with his former kickboxing rival.
Prediction: When it comes to UFC 281 betting, this matchup between Adesanya and Pereira will certainly be an electric one. Though the latter has had success against the champion before, Adesanya will get his revenge at Madison Square Garden.
Fighter Spotlight: Carla Esparza
Generally, by some outlets as the best strawweight fighter in the world during her championship reigns in the UFC and Invicta, Esparza is a strong champion. As recently as last month, she is ranked as the No. 3 fighter in the UFC women’s pound-for-pound rankings. Since losing at UFC 228, the champion has ripped off six straight wins, including winning the championship at UFC 274 over Rose Namajunas. Known for her powerful wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu holds, Esparza has shown she can win in a variety of ways (four knockouts, four submissions along with 11 decisions).
Fighter Spotlight: Zhang Weili
Opposing Esparza will be the No. 1 contender in the UFC women’s strawweight division: Zhang Weili. A fighter that has been recognized as one of the top combatants in the UFC women’s pound-for-pound rankings, Zhang is also the first-ever Chinese champion in UFC history. She is coming off a tremendous Performance of the Night knockout win over Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 275. In that bout, Zhang was able to score the knockout with a tremendous spinning back fist that blasted her opponent in the second round of the fight. Now with 11 total knockout wins to her credit, the 33-year-old is certainly one of the most devastating fighters in her division.
Prediction: For your UFC 281 picks, this women’s strawweight championship bout will be a must-watch match for your bets. In this championship contest, Zhang should be able to regain the title that she won at UFC 248.
Once you are all set and ready to roll on your UFC 281 bets, SBS has your back with a plethora of great information to use anytime you want to make wagers. Anytime you are thinking about betting on MMA, make sure to check out our UFC betting sites guide which goes over the latest betting markets related to the sport. Moreover, this page also contains bonuses that will help you maximize your bets and make sure you are on top of the action. Speaking of bonuses, the SBS best bonus betting sites rundown is an amazing resource that contains a catalog of different bonus offers. Finally, if you are perhaps interested in higher-end betting, our VIP sports betting overview is a great overview of the perks of VIP online sports betting.