Israel Adesanya will attempt to get his title back in a fourth fight against rival Alex Pereira this spring.
Pereira will defend the middleweight championship against Adesanya in the co-main event of UFC 287 on April 8, UFC president Dana White announced Friday. Jorge Masvidal will return against Gilbert Burns in the other co-main event, while popular welterweight Kevin Holland will take on Santiago Ponzinibbio on the main card, White said.
A location for UFC 287 has yet to be announced.
Pereira has beaten Adesanya twice in kickboxing and knocked him out last November in the fifth round of their first MMA fight against each other at UFC 281 to win the belt.
Adesanya is No. 4 in ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings.
Pereira (7-1) is 4-0 in the UFC with three victories via KO/TKO. The Brazilian-born fighter, who trains out of Connecticut, only started his full-time MMA career in 2020. Pereira, 35, was once one of the best kickboxers in the world, holding Glory titles at middleweight and light heavyweight.
Adesanya (23-2) had been the UFC middleweight champion since 2019 prior to Pereira’s victory. The Nigerian-born New Zealander had only one MMA loss prior to November, at light heavyweight in a 2021 title fight against Jan Blachowicz.
Adesanya, 33, had five successful middleweight title defenses.
Masvidal (35-16) has lost three straight but remains one of the biggest stars on the UFC roster. The 38-year-old Miami native owns the fastest knockout in UFC history — a five-second flying knee win over Ben Askren in 2019.
Burns (21-5), a 36-year-old former title contender from Brazil who trains out of Florida, is coming off a first-round submission victory over Neil Magny on Saturday at UFC 283.