UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has predicted the outcome of his former rival’s clash on the UFC 276 main card this weekend.
Alex Pereira, the only fighter to knock out Adesanya in kickboxing, has quickly moved into the spotlight following two wins in the UFC. If he manages to defeat Sean Strickland (#4) this weekend then Pereira will likely earn the next shot at the UFC Middleweight Championship and set up a fascinating rematch if Adesanya is also successful in his title defense this weekend.
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Speaking with Alexander Volkanovski in a recent YouTube video, Adesanya shared his thoughts on Pereira’s rise and compared how quickly other fighters had become UFC champions.
“Obviously, elephant in the room — ‘Pereira is the only guy to beat Izzy, blah, blah, blah,’ Adesanya said, referring to the narrative. “Sometimes they say that it’s too fast, too fast to push, they said about me. But look, Jiri [Prochazka] just became the new light heavyweight champ after fighting twice in the UFC. In his third fight in the UFC, he became the light heavyweight champion.
“I think Brock Lesnar did the same thing. Anderson Silva did it in his second fight but after an extensive career in MMA outside the UFC. Alex has an extensive career in kickboxing outside the UFC. MMA I don’t know really know much about.”
Pereira has a tough opponent this weekend in Sean Strickland who has won six consecutive fights, however. Adesanya also commented on Strickland, sharing why he’d never spar with the middleweight contender.
“Sean Strickland is a bad motherf—er,” Adesanya said. “Like literally bad, rotten apple, but I like the guy, he’s funny, and he likes to talk shit as well. His stand-up, ugh, I’ve seen him do more damage on YouTube in sparring than in his fights, put it that way. I’ve seen his sparring footages and I’d never spar with an idiot like that.
“I’ve hurt people in sparring before and I’m like ‘shit, my bad’ or I’ll pull back with a body shot or whatever. But I’ve seen what he does and he’s talking shit. Whatever floats your boat, yes, but it’s a funny thing to say coming from us but I don’t like to hurt people. Even though that’s our job. But I like to make sure they can come back the next day to do their work and give me work. You need your teammates.”
As for the matchup, Adesanya highlighted what Strickland will need to be concerned about at UFC 276.
“It’s that first round that he has to worry about,” Adesanya said. “That’s the most dangerous round with Pereira. I’m trying to think of Sean and I think his ego might get the better of him. If I’m going to bet money, I’m going to go with Pereira in this fight…
Volkanovski shared his opinion on the fight and he believes that this one won’t hit the ground.
“It’s funny because you see him talking like ‘these motherf—ers want to wrestle,’ but at the same time will he be like will I do what I have to do?” Volkanovski said. “I’ll go with Pereira. I think it’s going to be a stand-up [fight].”
Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.