In one of the most notable bouts of what was a stacked UFC 276 pay-per-view card, former GLORY kickboxer Pereira had the chance to progress from an unranked 185lber to a top-five contender. To do so, he had to become the first man to defeat Strickland at middleweight, a feat he accomplished in just two-and-a-half minutes.
Ahead of the contest, “Tarzan” had promised to resort to wrestling should he be hurt by the elite Brazilian striker on the feet. As it turns out, the UFC vet didn’t have the chance to do so, with a brutal left hook sending him to the canvas.
Strickland’s performance took many by surprise, with some questioning why the North Carolina native stood straight in front of one of the world’s most lethal strikers. But one man who seemingly wasn’t shocked by how it played out is the middleweight king.
Adesanya Has No Sympathy For Strickland
During UFC 276 media day last Wednesday, Adesanya gave his thoughts on the matchup that was expected to serve as a title eliminator in his division.
“If I’m being honest, he might get f*cked up, Strickland,” Adesanya said. “If he doesn’t fight with his ego, he’ll get f*cked up.” (h/t MMA Junkie).
Given the way that he attempted to go toe-to-toe with Pereira on the feet, especially with little movement and within range, some have suggested that Strickland’s ego played a part in his knockout defeat in Las Vegas.
That includes “The Last Stylebender,” who essentially told Strickland ‘I told you so’ during the post-fight press conference.
“It was a good fight. But Sean Strickland should have focused on his job like I told him to,” Adesanya said.
After capitalizing on Strickland’s fatal decision to strike with him, “Poatan” has seemingly set up a championship showdown with Adesanya, who defended his gold for a fifth time in the UFC 276 main event.
Having scored two victories over the Nigerian-New Zealander in the kickboxing world, Pereira will be looking to repeat his Saturday feat of adding the opening blemish to a middleweight’s divisional record by moving to 3-0 over Adesanya in combat sports.