There may not have been a middleweight prospect as hyped up as Alex Pereira since the arrival of current champion Israel Adesanya. Adesanya has more than lived up to the hype as the #3-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world and the undisputed middleweight king. Only time will tell if Pereira will also experience sustained success in the promotion like Adesanya has.
For now, he simply holds the attention of fans and the entire middleweight division after his Performance of the Night-winning debut at UFC 268. That includes current champion and his former kickboxing foe, Israel Adesanya.
“It’s pretty much like me and (Derek) Brunson – he’s trying to find a way (to take him down) cause he’s scared of the striking,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel about Pereira’s bout against Andreas Michailidis. “Cause you know he’s going to shoot, well-timed knee just straight up. Bang. There it is. I thought he was going to do it when he shot in, but I didn’t think he was going to fly at him.”
Of course, Pereira also holds a KO victory over Adesanya himself in the world of kickboxing. The champion has not forgotten, not that the public has allowed him to. However, as a verified Style Bender, Adesanya now has more tools at his disposal, not to mention more years of experience under his belt. So if Pereira does make it to him eventually, Adesanya will be waiting—and anticipating a much different result.
“We talked about this like two days ago,” Adesanya said. “We need something new. Especially after you lap the division again. … Good job Pereira, that was nice. One thing I notice is everyone always holds on to that win he has over me like it’s the be all end all. I hope he does well. I hope he does well through the ranks.
“In the next four fights, I hope to see him. They’ll show you the knockout, but they won’t show you what happened before the finish. I hurt him, but I only throw (hands) because I was infiltrated by other people’s thoughts. But that was when I was younger. Not anymore. It’s different now. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Adesanya’s next title defense will be a rematch against Robert Whittaker. The bout is expected to take place in February, but that date remains unofficial as of this writing.
Do you think we will ever see Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira in the UFC?