This past weekend at Madison Square Garden, a new king was crowned at 185 pounds. Meeting for the third time in combat sports and the first occasion in MMA, Pereira challenged the dominant rule of Adesanya, looking to blemish the Nigerian-New Zealander’s record in the division for the first time.
“Poatan” did just that in a similar fashion to the pair’s kickboxing rematch back in 2017. While Adesanya had comfortably outpointed Pereira through four rounds, he fell victim to the Brazilian’s left hook in the final frame once again.
With the result, Adesanya suffered his first defeat at middleweight and had his title reign ended after five successful defenses. Given his previous dominance in the weight class, many have suggested that “The Last Stylebender” deserves an immediate shot at regaining his place on the throne.
As well as UFC president not ruling out a rematch post-fight, Adesanya also insisted that his next outing will come against Pereira during an appearance on The MMA Hour.
One high-ranked contender, however, sees things differently.
Strickland On Possible Adesanya/Pereira Rematch: “UFC Does What UFC Does”
During a recent interview with The Schmo, Strickland reflected on the middleweight crown changing hands this past weekend and gave his take on what’s next in the title picture.
Despite Adesanya’s impressive rule prior to the figure of his kickboxing past entering the equation, “Tarzan” doesn’t believe an immediate rematch is warranted. Instead, he insisted that Pereira should face the next man in line.
However, Strickland did note that the UFC will likely favor Adesanya owing to his name value and drawing power.
“I mean, here’s the thing. It’s not right. He shouldn’t have an immediate rematch,” Strickland said. “You should give the next guy in line a shot. But f*cking, UFC does what UFC does. I mean, it’s all about money, bro. They look at that as Izzy is the most marketable fight. But yeah, it’s not right and he shouldn’t get a rematch.”
Currently, there’s no clear next in line for a shot at the gold, but it’s widely expected that Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa’s collision at UFC 284 will serve as a title eliminator.
But with that bout set for next February, the victor will likely not be ready to challenge for the belt until the summer. Should “Poatan” seek a quicker turnaround for his opening defense, perhaps the promotion will explore booking a rematch against Adesanya in the meantime.
Do you agree with Sean Strickland?
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