At UFC 281, Adesanya will headline his third pay-per-view of 2022. Having beaten Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier in February and July, respectively, “The Last Stylebender” will close out his in-cage year inside Madison Square Garden, where a new threat awaits him.
While that “new” applies to his MMA tenure, Adesanya’s sixth title defense won’t come against a totally fresh opponent. Prior to transitioning to mixed martial arts, the Nigerian-New Zealander competed as a kickboxer. It was in the striking-only sport where he collided with Pereira not once, but twice.
In their first meeting, Adesanya fell on the wrong side of a decision, one that was seen as a controversial result in the eyes of many. While he appeared well on his way to exacting revenge in their rematch a year later, Adesanya was ultimately left unconscious.
With that 0-2 head-to-head score in mind, “The Last Stylebender” will look to pull one back on “Poatan” when they meet for a unique combat sports trilogy.
But along with that retribution, Adesanya says he’s looking to do some damage, and he’s got one idea in mind that might help him deliver that…
Adesanya Makes Unique Plea To White For Pereira Showdown
During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Adesanya looked ahead to his return to MSG, which will mark his first outing at the venue since he decimated Derek Brunson in 2018.
Ahead of UFC 281 fight week, Adesanya had already noted that his upcoming fight is about more than just defending the middleweight gold, it’s about beating Pereira. And judging by the referee he’s requested Dana White to secure for the November 12 headliner, that’s beating the Brazilian to a pulp.
“Bro, Dana, bring back Steve Mazzagatti. Bring back Steve Mazzagatti to ref my fight,” Adesanya said. “I wanna hear ‘fight back’ as I’m punching him in the face like, 50 times. I wanna hear, ‘Fight back! You need to move Alex! You need to move! Fight back!’ I wanna hear that 50 times before they drag me off him.”
During his time as an official, Mazzagatti gained somewhat of a reputation for controversial stoppages. That often saw him come under scrutiny from White, who branded the referee “dangerous” and a “f*cking toolbox.”
Whilst clearly in jest, Adesanya’s Mazzagatti quip may serve as an indication for the level of aggression the champion will be looking to show come fight night. “The Last Stylebender” has come under fire for a perceived-to-be ‘safe’ approach in recent defenses.
Perhaps with a historical rivalry at stake and a personal score to settle, Adesanya will look for the kind of finishes he secured against Paulo Costa in 2020 and Robert Whittaker the year before.
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