At UFC 281, the lengthy and dominant 185-pound title reign of Adesanya was ended in dramatic fashion inside New York City’s Madison Square Garden. There, “The Last Stylebender met former kickboxing rival Pereira in the main event.
Adesanya has long attempted to educate the MMA masses on how his defeats to Pereira inside the ring played out. While some may have not listened to that history lesson, a demonstration was essentially provided on Saturday night.
Like their 2017 rematch, Adesanya was outpointing “Poatan” and appeared en route to a comfortable victory on the scorecards. But in the final round, he was stopped by Pereira’s patented left hook.
While the 2017 iteration left him out cold, the shot at UFC 281 rocked Adesanya to the point where referee Marc Goddard chose to step in for a standing TKO stoppage.
With the result, Adesanya tasted middleweight defeat for the first time in the UFC. But with it marking his third setback against Pereira in his combat sports career, “The Last Stylebender” will perhaps be feeling some familiarity days out from the event.
One thing he certainly is feeling, interestingly, is optimism. Despite the loss, Adesanya has remained upbeat about the future, and in particular, a rematch with Pereira soon enough.
Adesanya: “I Know What To Do Now”
During a recent post-fight appearance on the FLAGRANT podcast, hosted by Andrew Schulz, Adesanya reflected on his first defeat at middleweight and assessed his plans moving forward.
Having noted his confidence that his next outing will be a rematch with Pereira, “The Last Stylebender” insisted that he has what it takes to defeat the Brazilian at the fourth time of asking, even claiming to have the champ’s number.
“I can beat him. I’ve been in there (with him) too many times now and I’ve also taken his best shots in different gloves,” Adesanya said. “I took him down, I controlled him. I know what to do now. I compromised his legs early, but then he compromised mine as well… He just did it better. But I know I can beat him. I know I have his number. But again, he just somehow gets it done ’cause he’s the comeback kid.”
On social media post-fight, Adesanya acknowledged that Pereira won the battle once again at UFC 281. However, “The Last Stylebender” insisted that the war is far from over, something he’ll hope to prove if and when the pair run it back.
What do you make of Israel Adesanya’s remarks? Do you agree that he has Alex Pereira’s number?
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