Israel Adesanya considers his next fight to be his biggest yet.
The story ahead of UFC 281 is clear. New Zealand’s reigning middleweight kingpin Adesanya is looking for redemption after being defeated in kickboxing on two separate occasions by fellow Brazilian Alex Pereira. In the third part of their rivalry, they fight under MMA rules in the cage on the biggest stage for the most prestigious title.
Pereira worked his way up to title challenger with just three wins in the promotion and six wins in seven fights. While Adesanya handles the fight on a grand scale, he feels like he’s fought tougher challengers than his kickboxing successor.
“No I do not think so [he presents the toughest challenge]’ Adesanya told ESPN. “He’s very one-dimensional. He’s also early in this game, so I’m actually glad to get him now. I don’t know who he has in his corner. I know he has Glover [Teixeira] and his boxing trainer. I don’t know what her background is, I don’t mind, I’m just worried about myself. I definitely know he’s not as smart in the cage as I am. I know it exactly.”
There wasn’t too much banter between the parties involved in the UFC 281 main event, but “Poatan” certainly played along with the jabs a bit on “The Last Stylebender.” Pereira has posted videos on his social media accounts mocking some of Adesanya’s training techniques and only posted a picture of himself with an Elsa of this fight week Frozen Mascot – a shot at an earlier quote by Adesanya.
It’s not the first time Adesanya has faced an opponent trying to get under his skin. Ultimately, the champion finds it just as abnormal as some of the past cases that have been dealt with.
“There is [me] Robert Whittaker ahead of UFC 243 [vibes]’ said Adesanya. “I said the same thing, I said, ‘You’re acting out of character.’ There is [Paulo] Costa vibes too [UFC] 253. I thought, why are you doing all these skits? But yeah, I didn’t say anything back, I’m not responding. You’re asking me about it now, so I have to answer, but I won’t answer right until we’re in that octagon, then I’ll answer right. If I answer correctly, he will understand what I’m saying.”
A Pereira win will officially be Adesanya’s No. 6 title defense, leaving him with some intriguingly minimal options for middleweight challengers thereafter. In his 24-fight MMA career, Adesanya’s only loss came in his attempt to win light heavyweight gold against Jan Blachowicz in March 2021. The champion intends to try again at 205lbs in the future, whether it’s for the belt or not.
“I’m going to do another side mission [at light heavyweight], even without the belt,” Adesanya said. “Just having that win at 205 and then just saying I did it, you know?” Adesanya said. “That would be fun because I know I can do it. I just want to tick that off and then go back to 185 and rule with my iron black fist.
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round table. MMA Fighting debates whether Alex Pereira will beat Israel Adesanya again at UFC 281.
rivals. Israel Adesanya: Alex Pereira has ‘showing rights’ but ‘I know something he doesn’t know before the UFC 281 clash
Outsider. Carla Esparza: “It makes me smile and laugh” that people still doubt me before Zhang Weili fights
Change. ‘It was pretty reckless’: Fighter Eugene Bareman reveals how coaches united the team ahead of UFC 281
Reviews. TJ Dillashaw: Aljamain Sterling a ‘not very dangerous’ champion, Cody Garbrandt ‘not worth my trouble’
nicknames. Alex Pereira shoots Israel Adesanya and says champ won’t freeze me at UFC 281
Zhang Weili’s Greatest Hits.
A collapse of Zhang’s elbow.
City Kickboxing UFC 281 Preview.
City Kickboxing All Access.
People break Adesanya vs. Pereira.
The War Room: Adesanya vs. Pereira.
The top 10 UFC flyweight knockouts.
Fighter vs. Writer. MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin chats with Carla Esparza and Matt Brown.
damn morning MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck discusses who has more pressure in the main event of UFC 281 between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira.
let them fight
I think I like that nickname better.
To team up.
The Art of Photography.
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Doo Ho Choi (14-4) vs. Kyle Nelson (13-5); UFC Seoul, February 4th
Jim Miller (35-16) vs. Gabriel Benitez (23-11); UFC Fight Night, February 18
I’ve been very excited for this middleweight title fight, but as it gets closer I fear a star fight awaits us.
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