Israel Adesanya welcomes Alex Pereira’s fast push to UFC title fight contention
Israel Adesanya welcomes the opportunity to fight Alex Pereira again — this time inside the Octagon. Adesanya and Pereira will both compete on this Saturday night’s UFC 276 in Las Vegas. The fight card is a PPV-exclusive event and that means fans must order the PPV on ESPN+ to watch every fight live.
Pereira recorded two wins against Adesanya in kickboxing. In 2o16, Pereira defeated Adesanya by unanimous decision to end what was a 12-fight winning streak at the time. One year later, Pereira became the first and only person to knock Adesanya out when he stopped him with a left hook in round three.
Following the knockout defeat, Adesanya competed exclusively in mixed martial arts, maintained an undefeated record as a middleweight, and is now one of the most dominant champions in the UFC. It never seemed realistic to consider that he may face Pereira once more considering they were competing at different levels of the sport.
However, Pereira, now 5-1 as a mixed martial artist, managed a spectacular flying knee knockout against Andreas Michailidis in his UFC debut last November. He followed that knockout win with a unanimous decision victory against Bruno Silva in March this year. Now, despite being unranked, the UFC has booked Pereira against surging middleweight contender Sean Strickland (#4) in what appears to be a title eliminator bout.
Speaking with UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in a recent YouTube video, Adesanya explained that he welcomes a fight with Pereira and looks forward to the chance to exact revenge.
“Honestly, they [the fans] keep saying it’s too fast, it’s too fast,” Adesanya said. “They know what they’re doing. They’re pushing him so he can get that fight with me. I’m like, cool, I welcome it. I look forward to this.
“One thing people don’t realize because we live in the Tik Tok era where the attention span is like that [clicks], no one is going to take their time to watch the first fight or the second fight and see what actually happened. All they see is the finish, the knockout. And it was a beautiful story for him, as well. First-round I whooped his ass. Second round I had him on skates. And he came back a third time and beat me.”
Adesanya recalls the trilogy bout between Quinton Jackson and Wanderlei Silva in which “Rampage” Jackson would turn the tables with a knockout win at UFC 92. If Pereira manages to defeat Strickland this weekend, Adesanya may just get the chance to finish this story in a similar way.
“If you remember UFC 92: Rampage Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva. Wanderlei fucked him twice in Japan, badly. Through the ropes, fucked him up. At UFC 92, Rampage blew him out of the water. He who laughs last laughs best. I can’t wait.
“I like the arc in my story. This is like an anime. I love a good flashback. The storyline… I’ll rise up and scream in his face. You don’t understand how many times I’ve visualized this. I know exactly what I’m going to do as well. Even if the referee tries to take me off him, I’m going to say let me have my moment. They can’t take me off him. I’m just going to stand there and just own it.”
Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier features on the UFC 276 main card. Order the PPV on ESPN+ to watch this fight and every main card fight live on Saturday night.[lasso ref=”watch-ufc” id=”32523″ link_id=”24119″]
Covering MMA and combat sports since 2015. Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.