Former Foe Says He Can Beat Interim UFC Champ Israel Adesanya In Rematch

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Israel Adesanya
Image Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

A former opponent of Israel Adesanya feels confident in his abilities if the two were to collide again.

Adesanya captured the interim Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight title earlier this month. “The Last Stylebender” had a five-round war with Kelvin Gastelum that had fans inside the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia buzzing. Adesanya took the unanimous decision victory after a stellar fifth round that sealed the deal.

Brad Tavares Feels He Can Beat Israel Adesanya

Back in July 2018, Adesanya and Tavares clashed just one night before UFC 226. “The Last Stylebender” dominated the fight on his way to a unanimous decision win. Speaking to MMAJunkie.com, Tavares detailed his mistakes and expressed confidence in his ability to get the upper hand in a rematch:

“Put it this way: I went into that fight and I tried to box, just straight-up box, a badass professional kickboxer – a guy who’s been doing it years and has multiple fights. What does he have, like 80-something kickboxing fights? And he’s probably lost only like two, three? I don’t know. I know he has some crazy record, though. That’s the thing, I look at that fight and I’m like, ‘Hey, there’s things that – I know what went wrong there.’ And I’m not going to sit here and use my foot being broken as an excuse, you know. I tried to actually kick in that fight. I kicked him in his leg one time and my foot instantly blew up, swole up.

“I knew that, when I put it back down, I was like, ‘If I kick again there’s a chance that I can’t even stand on it.’ So kicking with the right leg is out of the question. And, for me, leg kicks and my kicks are one of the biggest parts of my game. But I was like, ‘You know what, let’s get through this, though. Let’s go box this guy.’ And didn’t end up working out in my favor. But, like you said, it makes me excited. Because I know I can beat that guy. I know what it takes and what I need to do to beat that guy, and he’s a champion now.”

Tavares hasn’t competed since the Adesanya fight. The bones in his foot have healed and he’s medically cleared to compete, but Tavares says arm issues are delaying his return. We’ll keep you posted on Tavares’ next bout when those details become available.