MMA Best Bets: Cole's Picks, Odds and Predictions for UFC 287

MMA Best Bets: Cole's Picks, Odds and Predictions for UFC 287

This article is part of our UFC Picks series.

The UFC heads to the Miami-Dade Arena, in Miami, Florida for UFC 287 on Saturday, April 8. In the main event of the pay-per-view card, Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya have their rematch for the middleweight title.

Below, I'll share my favorite play, an underdog, a prop and a two-fighter parlay. All odds are via the DraftKings Sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.

Weight Class: Middleweight

Israel Adesanya (23-2) vs. Alex Pereira (7-1)

Back at UFC 281 in November, Israel Adesanya opened a -200 favorite, and heading into the fifth round, he was up to -700. Of course, he suffered a fifth-round TKO loss in stunning fashion.

Everyone knows that Adesanya is 0-3 against Pereira in combat sports, with two knockout losses, which makes it tough to think he can win. In that last fight, however, there is a lot of good to take away that can translate to him winning this time around.

In the first fight, Adesanya was able to wrestle. He got Pereira down and held him there for the entire round, so I do think he will mix in some wrestling this time out. On the feet, Adesanya was the better striker and nearly finished Pereira at the end of the first round. As long as Adesanya stays away from his back foot on the cage, I like him to wrestle and pick apart Pereira to win a decision.

UFC 287 Best Bet: Israel Adesanya (-130)

Weight Class: Middleweight

Chris Curtis (30-9) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (17-8)

Chris Curtis was initially the betting favorite, but action has come in on Kelvin Gastelum to make him the new favorite, which I am surprised by.

Curtis has been solid in the UFC and is coming off a KO win over Joaquin Buckley. Before that, he suffered a decision loss to Jack Hermansson in a fight he took on short notice. Yet, before that, he was on an incredible run with a win over Rodolfo Vieira, and KO wins over Brendan Allen and Phil Hawes.

Kelvin Gastelum, meanwhile, has not fought since August of 2021 and is on a 1-5 stretch, coming off back-to-back losses to Jared Cannonier and Robert Whittaker. His last win came at UFC 258 in 2021 when he beat Ian Heinisch by decision.

Gastelum has fought the better competition, but I doubt he will be able to get Curtis -- who has great takedown defense -- down to the mat. On the feet, both guys are durable, and it really comes down to volume. Curtis throws a ton, so I expect him to land the better shots and win a decision as the dog.

UFC 287 Best Bet: Chris Curtis (+100)

Weight Class: Welterweight

Gilbert Burns (21-5) vs. Jorge Masvidal (35-16)

In the co-main event, Gilbert Burns is taking on Jorge Masvidal, and I like Burns to win a decision here.

Masvidal has lost three fights in a row, and in all three, he has been taken down and controlled against the cage. That is the exact path to victory for Burns here. On the feet, Burns is also a good striker with power and can hold his own with Masvidal.

Furthermore, many think Masvidal will be able to KO Burns. Yet, the Brazilian has shown off a good chin, as he took Khamzat Chimaev's best shots. Outside of that 2019 run when he KO'd Darren Till and flying knee KO'd Ben Askren, Masvidal wasn't really known for his power. 

I expect Burns to follow a very similar game plan that he did against Stephen Thompson, as he will clinch Masvidal and take him down to win a decision.

UFC 287 Best Bet: Gilbert Burns by decision (+165)

Weight Classes: Catchweight & Welterweight

Ignacio Bahamondes (13-4) vs. Trey Ogden (16-5)
Kevin Holland (23-9) vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-6)

For my parlay, I'm taking Ignacio Bahamondes to beat Trey Ogden and Kevin Holland to defeat Santiago Ponzinibbio.

Bahamondes vs. Ogden is a 160lbs catchweight after Ogden made 155lbs two weeks agom but his fight fell through. He now has to cut weight again, which is never good, especially for a big guy like Ogden who drained himself to make 155lbs two weeks ago. Bahamondes, meanwhile, is a dynamic striker and has solid takedown defense, so I expect his volume to be too much for Ogden. If the back-to-back weight cuts did drain Ogden, I do think Bahamondes will be able to KO him.

The other leg is Holland to get past Ponzinibbio, who I think is past his prime and has struggled with throwing volume of late, while his chin is also a concern. Holland is coming off the corner stoppage loss to Stephen Thompson in a fight he apparently broke his hand, and coming back four months later could be a concern as well.

Yet, Ponzinibbio was getting beat up by Alex Morono back in December and then landed a third-round KO win. Morono took fight on just a few days' notice. Holland is also very hard to hit, so I think he will be able to out-volume Ponzinibbio to get a decision win.

UFC 287 Best Bet: Ignacio Bahamondes & Kevin Holland parlay (-123)


UFC 287 Best Bets

Here is a recap of my best UFC picks for this weekend's UFC 287 event:

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Cole Shelton
Cole Shelton is a full-time sports writer focusing on MMA.
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