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UFC 276 is this Saturday and perhaps the most intriguing matchup will be Sean Strickland vs Alex Pereira. Ben Rajavuori breaks down the fight and shares his best bets.

UFC 276 Predictions: Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira Juicy Plays at Plus Odds

Perhaps the most intriguing matchup of UFC 276 will feature Sean Strickland (25-3) and Alex Pereira (5-1). This is my most anticipated fight on the card, and that's saying a lot, considering how stacked this card is. It wouldn't be a reach to say that the winner of this fight gets the next title shot, either.

That being said, it only adds to the excitement of this bout. The oddsmakers seem unsure who should get their hand raised on Saturday Night, as the odds currently sit at a pick 'em on most books. Who will win this fight come Saturday? Let's dig into my prediction, best bets, and the odds for Strickland vs Pereira.

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UFC 276 Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: July 2, 2022

Time: Prelims 10:00 pm ET

Where To Watch: ABC, ESPN, ESPN+

Click Here for Strickland vs Pereira Odds

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Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira Prediction

Strickland enters this fight with a 25-3 record and is currently on a six-fight win streak. Strickland is the fourth-ranked fighter in the middleweight division and the highest-ranked fighter that has not faced Adesanya yet. Assuming Adesanya wins Saturday, a win for Strickland would likely see him get the next shot at the belt.

The biggest move in Stickland's career was his step up to middleweight. Strickland had been fighting at 170, and the cuts appeared to affect him. Ultimately, he made the move to middleweight for good, and he is 7-0 in the UFC as a middleweight (counting the Brendan Allen fight as a middleweight fight even though it was at 195 since they are both middleweight fighters).

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Alex Pereira has made a significant impact in the UFC in only two fights, primarily because of his success in his professional kickboxing career. Pereria fought Israel Adesanya twice in professional kickboxing, and he won both times, once by decision and once by knockout. The knockout is the most notable because, in 103 professional fights across kickboxing and MMA, that is Adesanya's only knockout loss.

This narrative has created lots of hype for Pereria's UFC career, and it is the reason that he is being pushed so quickly to a top-five opponent. If Pereira beats Strickland, I would not be surprised to see the UFC match him up with Adesanya next, given all the hype surrounding that matchup.

The critical thing to remember with this fight is that this is MMA, not kickboxing. Yeah, that's an obvious statement, but it is the difference in this fight. If this fight was in kickboxing, Pereira wins nine times out of ten, but Strickland has many options. One option is his black-belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Strickland has underrated grappling that he hasn't utilized recently, but it is undoubtedly his best path to victory on Saturday night. Pereira has underdeveloped grappling, and it is the area Strickland can expose most.

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I think this line is so close because of the narrative around Pereira. He is a hyped MMA prospect who has professional wins over the champ. I get it, but this is a huge step-up in his MMA career. He has never faced a grappler of Strickland's caliber, and Strickland is the much more technical UFC fighter at the moment. If Strickland can manage to stay out of a striking war and grind Pereira with grappling and pace, this is his fight to lose. We haven't seen a submission win from Strickland in a long time, and if he were to add another tap-out to his record, this would be the perfect opportunity.

That being said, Pereira has an excellent striking, as proven by his knockout win over Adesanya, and if Strickland does not fight smart and engages in a phonebooth-style fight, he could get knocked on his ass quickly. Therefore, I'm covering my bases with two opposing props for this fight. The only other way I see this ending is on the scorecards for Strickland, but if he is grappling, I expect him to be able to find a submission within 15 minutes.

Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira Picks

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Article Author


Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.


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