In the fallout from UFC 281 on Saturday night, and despite suffering his third career loss to Brazilian phenom, Alex Pereira in combat sports, former middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya insists he can defeat the newly minted gold holder, as he calls for a rematch.
Headlining the Madison Square Garden card, Adesanya started well against Pereira, almost finishing the bout in the final seconds of the first round, connecting flush with a combination at the fence which severely wobbled the Sao Paulo native.
However, in the fifth and final round, despite building a 3-1 lead in the prior four rounds, Israel Adesanya was stopped with a barrage at the Octagon fence, with Pereira once more rallying to knockout the Nigerian-Kiwi – this time clinching undisputed UFC middleweight gold to boot.
Israel Adesanya insists he has the key to defeat arch-rival Alex Pereira still
Despite his continued run of losing form against former two-weight Glory Kickboxing champion, Pereira, Adesanya has not shied away from a potential rematch in mixed martial arts in the future, insisting he knows he can land a victory over the Brazilian.
“I hope he’s (Alex Pereira) still champion, I’m just saying hypothetically, I’ll still fight him,” Israel Adesanya said of a fight with Alex Pereira during an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “I’m crazy, bro. I can beat him, I know I can beat him, you’ve seen I can beat him. You know, I wouldn’t say luck – he just, invested well, a good game plan – he’s a good fighter. But I know – it’s my ego maybe, sure, I just believe I’m better.”
The defeat came as Adesanya’s first at the middleweight limit in his professional mixed martial arts career, having only suffered a light heavyweight division loss to Jan Blahcowicz back in March of last year in an unsuccessful title pursuit at 205 pounds.