Israel Adesanya will defend his UFC middleweight title against Alex Pereira in the main event of UFC 281 on November 12 in New York, the Last Stylebender announced on SportsCenter.
Adesanya’s seventh consecutive title defence at Madison Square Garden will be another opportunity to get the better of Pereira after being beaten twice by the Brazilian in their kickboxing days including one via a scary knockout.
First Dance in Shenzhen
Adesanya and Pereira clashed for the first time at Glory of Heroes 1 in Shenzhen, China, in 2016 with the Brazilian winning via unanimous decision which was hotly disputed by Adesanya and MMA fighters like Stephen Thompson.
“I did not see that at all,” Thompson said. “I did not see Alex winning that. That was definitely an Izzy fight. … What were the judges looking at? I have no idea.”
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Second Dance In Sao Paolo
Adesanya had a second bite at the Brazilian Cherry at the 15th edition of the Glory of Heroes in Sao Paulo, Brazil but ended up biting off more than he could chew as the fight ended in a much worse fate with the ‘Last Stylebender’ being knocked out with a left hook in the third round despite dominating his opponent until that point.
The loss also marked his first and only knockout loss in combat sports spanning over 100 fights.
Third Dance is a Charm?
However, with the Octagon at the Mecca of Sports set to be their latest dancing stage, Adesanya is convinced he will prevail this time around and he was quick to call out his rival after defeating Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC 276 in Las Vegas on July 3.
“Look, we know who’s next, that Poatan P*ha. The first time, I told you it was an error on my part spamming right hands and that was in kickboxing but like I said at the press conference, the next time I put you on skates, you are going to get frozen like Elza,” he said.
With their grudge Trilogy now official, Adesanya expectedly is talking up the revenge ploy of the fight he describes as ordained by destiny.
“Vengeance is mine says the lord. Brooooo I said the same thing too!! This ends here. Kill or be killed.
“The Universe has presented this fight to me and it’s right there. It’s the perfect alley-oop and I’m going to Slam this B**tch.”
Adesanya (23-1 MMA) is unbeaten in his career at middleweight. The Nigerian-born New Zealand resident has won three straight fights since losing to former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in March 2021 when he dared to be great by moving up in weight class.
Meanwhile, Pereira (6-1 MMA) is coming off his most impressive win in the UFC; the first-round knockout of Sean Strickland, incidentally on the undercard of UFC 276 last month that was headlined by Adesanya. The Brazilian striker has five finishes in six career MMA victories since transitioning from kickboxing.
The 35-year-old is undefeated in his three UFC fights with two $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses to his name but is he about to suffer his first defeat on the biggest stage at the hands of his biggest rival?