Israel Adesanya lastly has an opportunity to avenge one among his most brutal defeats.
The UFC middleweight champion announced Friday night that his much-anticipated title protection towards Alex Pereira is official for Nov. 12 at UFC 281. It marks the continuation of a chapter that started in April 2016, when Pereira outpointed Adesanya within the kickboxing ring. The Brazilian went to viciously knock out Adesanya within the pair’s March 2017 kickboxing rematch, and now Pereira has chased “The Final Stylebender” into MMA, the place Adesanya is extensively thought of one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
However Adesanya is decided to point out why UFC 281 will differ from their previous two conferences.
“[The first two fights] are a part of historical past, a part of his story, as a result of the judges gave him the nod within the first one, and the subsequent one, he took me out within the third spherical. In order that’s a part of his story. However now it’s time for my story,” Adesanya mentioned Friday evening on SportsCenter.
“For me, [the difference between then and now] is the gloves. Once I mentioned one thing in regards to the pillow gloves, you may’t conceal behind the [big gloves], you may’t guard the identical method in kickboxing [as you can] in MMA. You’ve to have the ability to use your mind, transfer out the shot. And in addition my hanging fashion is quite a bit completely different in MMA than kickboxing. That’s why I’ve had a lot success as a ‘kickboxer’ in MMA, as a result of I don’t strike like them.
“That is blended martial arts, so I can elbow, I can use my knees, I can get within the clinch and keep within the clinch. There’s much more that’s completely different on this recreation, and other people can simply have a look at the previous, the end, and maintain onto that. You’ll want it.”
It’s one other fast turnaround for Adesanya, who simply notched his fifth protection of the UFC middleweight title with a dominant choice win over Jared Cannonier in July at UFC 276. “The Final Stylebender” has been an unbeatable power within the 185-pound division since signing with the UFC in 2018, racking up 12 straight wins on the weight class.
He’s drawn some criticism in latest fights, nevertheless, for the lack of excitement has bouts have provided, with that criticism peaking within the days after the Cannonier matchup. However Adesanya has additionally delivered a number of the most elegant moments of the previous decade for the division every time he’s been given an aggressive opponent, and he’s anticipating Pereira to ship precisely the sort of offensive look his latest foes have failed to supply.
“Have I ever shied away from a combat?” Adesanya mentioned. “I’ve at all times picked the man nobody desires to combat. The man everybody runs away from, I run in direction of. So I run towards the fireplace, and that is no completely different. And once more, after he beat me in Brazil, I by no means had any plans of attempting to get revenge or something like that, as a result of I don’t maintain onto issues, I let go of issues. However once more, I’m telling you, the universe has introduced this to me and it’s proper there, it’s the right alley-oop, and I’m going to slam that b****.
“I’m actually excited to have somebody — lastly — who after the primary spherical or the second spherical, they understand they will’t do s*** and simply need to be defensive, I’m excited to have somebody who’s going to assault me, who’s going to truly attempt to end me,” he added. “And that is the story of this combat, as a result of he’s accomplished it earlier than previously in kickboxing, so for me it’s like, is he going to get knocked out or am I going to get knocked out?
“This man shouldn’t be going to be gun-shy. He’s going to return at me from bell to bell, and I’m going to do the identical. And each time somebody brings the combat, I elevate the bar.”
With a profitable efficiency at UFC 281, Adesanya will proceed to increase what’s already the second-longest profitable streak within the historical past of the UFC middleweight division.
And forward of a combat that may very well be one of many greatest of 2022, Adesanya already acquired a number of suggestions from a UFC Corridor of Famer who is aware of a factor or two about lengthy profitable streaks.
“Humorous sufficient, I used to be hanging out with my fellow GOAT and avatar Georges St-Pierre in Toronto a number of days in the past really, and we talked extensively about legacy, about preventing, about life, numerous various things,” Adesanya mentioned.
“And from that dialog I had with him, I already leveled up. I already leveled up quite a bit, so I actually, actually, actually stay up for this combat.”