Israel Adesanya sets out to regain the title of UFC middleweight champion in Mixed martial art (MMA), on the night of this Saturday April 8 to Sunday April 9, against Alex Pereira who dispossessed him of it last November. Above all, the Nigerian must finally overcome the Brazilian after three lost face-to-face matches.
For Israel Adesanya, the pet peeve of his sleepless nights necessarily has a name: Alex Pereira. The Brazilian indeed haunts the Nigerian who has never managed to beat him after three confrontations. The first two took place in the kickboxing ring, long before both fighters made their final transition to MMA.
It was in 2016 in China that Act 1 Adesanya-Pereira was played during the biggest event for the promotion of kickboxing, the Glory of Heros. Pereira wins the duel by unanimous decision of the judges against an Adesanya who thought he deserved the victory.
For the reunion in July 2017, the Nigerian dominates the face-to-face, but in the third round, he is knocked out by Pereira’s left hook which justifies his nickname “Hand of Stone”.
Stung to the quick
Five months later, the native of Lagos, who fought in parallel in MMA, made his real entry into the discipline by signing with the UFC. In four years, he crushed everything, gleaning the title of UFC middleweight champion in his sixth fight. He is the undisputed master of the category, until his “old friend” Alex Pereira reappears and comes to hunt on his land.
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The Brazilian admits to having been stung by statements from the Nigerian, the new MMA champion. Israel Adesanya said this: This guy [Ndlr : Alex Pereira] look at all my fights, and every time he says something like: ”I beat that guy”. In the end, no one knows who he is. And when I’m a legend, you’ll find him in a bar rehearsing that to try and get a girl on crack to do things with him.. »
” This interview motivated me so muchconfided the Brazilian. I felt like “challenged”. And when it does, no one can stop me. I had found my new challenge, and it was in the UFC “.
Adesanya: ” This is my last chance”
Nearly three years later, after having climbed the steps of the UFC four to four, with only seven fights, he is facing Adesanya, in the octagon. On November 13, 2022, at Madison Square Garden in New York, the more experienced and highly motivated Nigerian dominated the exchanges before Pereira turned the situation around by chaining devastating blows that eventually prompted the referee to stop the fight. The Brazilian is declared the winner by TKO. New frustration for Adesanya.
For Saturday, the Nigerian champion says himself about this fourth duel: “ It’s my last chance, I’ll give it my all. The belt doesn’t matter. I just have to beat this guy. »
“The Hunt” is the title chosen by the UFC to promote this clash. It’s time for it to end for Israel Adesanya, to put an end to his worst nightmare.