Video – Israel Adesanya, Alex Pereira share tense face off ahead of UFC 281 title grudge match

Israel Adesanya
Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC

Ahead of their UFC middleweight title grudge match later this week at UFC 281, defending champion, Israel Adesanya and division challenger, Alex Pereira shared an as-expected tense face-off after a war-of-words at tonight’s press conference in New York City.

Headlining UFC 281 this weekend at Madison Square Garden, Adesanya will attempt to land his sixth successful title defense when paired with Brazilian rival, Pereira – as well as attempting to avenge a pair of kickboxing losses to the latter.

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Competing twice back in 2016, and 2017, respectively – Israel Adesanya first dropped a decision loss to Pereira in China in a debated judging loss, before suffering a thunderous knockout defeat to the Brazilian the following year in a rallying performance.

Sharing a tense face-off at today’s presser guided by UFC play-by-play commentator, Adesanya and Pereira traded verbal insults in a reserved manner. 

Israel Adesanya attempts to avenge his prior losses to Alex Pereira

Maintaining that prior knowledge of his knockout loss to incoming opponent, Pereira would have no effect on his performance at UFC 281 or thought process ahead of the MSG showdown. 

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Reminding him of his knockout defeat, Pereira posed a rather confusing question to Adesanya – asking if the Nigerian-Kiwi was even interested in showing up to the event or the pre-fight media obligations. 

Taking the stage last for tonight’s pre-fight press conference as the final pairing, Adesanya and Pereira exchanged inaudibles throughout their face-to-face confrontation, before the former motioned that the Sao Paulo native was “talking” with his hand, with the duo then posing for photo opportunities. 

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Last headlining UFC 276 back in July, Israel Adesanya knocked back the challenge of Jared Cannonier in a forgettable unanimous decision showing.

For Pereira, the streaking contender turned in his championship challenge-earning performance with a first round knockout win over Sean Strickland on the main card of the event during International Fight Week.