Monday, November 28, 2022

Alex Pereira Claims To Have “Evolved” More Than Israel Adesanya

UFC middleweight contender Alex Pereira has explained why he believes that he’s evolved more as a fighter than upcoming opponent Israel Adesanya.

This weekend, Pereira will look to complete an ultra-fast ascension up the UFC ladder when he challenges for the promotion’s middleweight gold. The Brazilian will have his shot at the belt inside Madison Square Garden, where he made his organizational debut a year ago.

“Poatan,” a former two-division Glory Kickboxing champion, announced his arrival with a flying-knee knockout of Andreas Michailidis at UFC 268. After notching another win in his sophomore outing, this time on the scorecards against Bruno Silva, Pereira found himself in a title eliminator.

While many expected him to have a tough time against Sean Strickland, the relative newcomer made it a quick night at UFC 276, knocking “Tarzan” out in one round.

Now, he’ll look to add a third victory over Adesanya to his combat sports résumé. The two rivals will go head to head in the main event of UFC 281 tomorrow night, with the 185-pound belt on the line.

Ahead of the contest, much has been made of the history between the pair. In two kickboxing bouts, Pereira had his hand raised twice, first via decision in 2017 and then by way of KO in their 2017 rematch.

With that in mind, many have suggested that Pereira has the champion’s number and will extend his lead in their series with victory in their first MMA fight. However, noting the controversial result of the first clash and his success prior to his sole KO loss, Adesanya expects to exact his revenge.

Part of the reason for Adesanya’s confidence is his evolution. “The Last Stylebender” believes he’s grown no end as a fighter since transitioning to MMA, where he’s largely dominated ever since.

But the challenger believes the narrative of ‘evolution’ is actually in his favor.

Pereira Highlights Different Starting Point Than Adesanya

During a recent interview with BT Sport, Pereira was asked whether he believes he’s evolved more as a fighter than Adesanya since their 2017 rematch.

Citing their different starting points in combat sports as the reason why, “Poatan” suggested that he’s been left with much more room to evolve since the pair’s days as kickboxing rivals. And with that, he claimed to have beaten Adesanya way before reaching his best.

“Israel started training when he was a child. I started training when I was old,” Pereira said. “So, due to the fact that he’s been training for so long, I’ve actually evolved the most because I was a very young fighter when I fought him and I was still better than him. I actually conquered my best and (became) my best now after that fight.”

In the UFC 281 headliner, one person will be proved right. Should it be Adesanya, the Nigerian-New Zealander will have firmly cemented his grip on the middleweight throne with a sixth straight defense.

But should it be Pereira, the Brazilian will have well and truly shaken things up at 185 pounds.

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