Adesanya will face Alex Pereira in the UFC 281 main event on Saturday in New York City. He returns to defend the middleweight title after wins over Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier earlier this year.
It’s been a while since Adesanya earned a victory by finish. Since his TKO win over Paulo Costa, he’s won three-straight decisions during his time defending the 185lb belt.
Adesanya’s win over Cannonier, in particular, drew a flurry of criticism for how the fight played out. Some fans and pundits felt Adesanya should’ve pushed the pace more to make it a more entertaining fight for the viewing audience.
While Cormier understands the frustration of some with taking the timid approach, he thinks it’s the only way fighters can beat Adesanya.
Daniel Cormier Thinks Israel Adesanya’s Opponents Shouldn’t Worry About Crowd
During a recent press conference, Cormier gave his thoughts on how to beat Adesanya.
“Here’s the thing: I don’t remember who I was talking to about this, but generally you’re telling Izzy’s opponents as an analyst, make it boring,” Cormier said on the key to beating Adesanya. “Because when you make it boring, you’re in the fight. It’s that simple. Yoel Romero made it boring and he lost 3-2. Robert Whittaker in the last one…there’s never been a clearer indicator of how to face Izzy than Robert Whittaker, from fight 1 to fight 2. Kelvin Gastelum is the only person that survived when he’s been a bit reckless. And then by the end of the fifth round, he was about to get finished. so you can only do so much against Adesanya. You have to be patient, you have to be okay with the crowd not enjoying the fight. Because if you do too much, you end up like Robert Whittaker in Fight 1…
“It’s not on Izzy, it’s on the opponents,” Cormier continued. “And the smart opponents need to be in the boring fight against Adesanya. He’s too good a counter striker, he won’t lead. If you stay, if you just kinda stay with Izzy, he will just stay and stand with you.”
Adesanya’s lone defeat in the Octagon came against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259. Blachowicz used his wrestling to stifle Adesanya’s standup game and make it more of a grind on the ground.
This will likely not be the approach of Pereira this weekend, who faced Adesanya twice in Glory Kickboxing. He’s also the only fighter to ever finish Adesanya in combat sports.
If Pereira decides to shock the masses and make the fight more tactical and technical, Cormier feels it’s in his best interest to take the belt from Adesanya.
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