Alex Pereira may be the only person to have a knockout win over Israel Adesanya in combat sports, but the middleweight champ is not going to let that intimidate him.
Adesanya and Pereira fought twice in the world of kickboxing, with Pereira earning a decision win and a knockout over the future UFC champion. While “The Last Stylebender” would move on to MMA shortly thereafter, Pereira would eventually follow him, racking up a six-fight winning streak, including three UFC bouts, earning a third fight with his old foe, this time in the Octagon.
Israel Adesanya Will Not Be Intimidated
Given the fact that Alex Pereira had a short run in the UFC yet was still able to take on and beat a top contender in Sean Strickland, it is pretty evident that the promotion has been looking to fast track the Brazilian to the title, and cash in on the rivalry between he and Israel Adesanya.
Nevertheless, it would have been well within his rights for the champ to turn down this challenger, given their history and Pereira’s relative lack of MMA experience.
When asked in a recent interview why he opted to take this fight, instead of taking on a contender that may be considered more deserving, Israel Adesanya had a straightforward answer. He made it clear that he is always after the toughest fights, and if that means taking on his kickboxing rival, so be it.
“I mean, have I ever shied away from a fight? I’ve always picked the guy no one wants to fight. The guy everyone runs away from, I run towards. So yeah, I run towards the fire, and this is no different,” Adesanya said.
“After (Pereira) beat me in Brazil, I never had any plans of trying to get revenge or anything like that, because I don’t hold on to things. I let go of things. But again, the universe has presented this to me and it’s right there. It’s the perfect alley-oop, and I’m gonna slam this bitch.”
Israel Adesanya is set to face off against Alex Pereira on November 12th, where it will headline UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden. Time will tell if history repeats itself, or if “The Last Stylebender” will continue his reign as the middleweight king.