Former UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya has claimed he had planned to wait for newly minted champion, Alex Pereira to “gas out” during his fifth round finishing sequence, before he was eventually stopped.
Headlining UFC 281 over the course of last weekend at Madison Square Garden, Adesanya suffered a fifth round standing TKO loss to Pereira, in his attempt to secure his seventh successful defense of the middleweight crown.
Likely leading the scorecards in a 3-1 lead heading into the fifth and final round, Adesanya was then defeated in the final frame, after he was wobbled on the feet by an uppercut from Pereira, before the Sao Paulo native’s patented left hook found it’s home.
Attempting to evade Pereira’s follow-up strikes at the Octagon fence, Israel Adesanya failed to get out of the way for the most part, with referee, Marc Goddard jumping in to call a halt to the bout, crowning Pereira as the new undisputed middleweight best.
Israel Adesanya reveals his plan to survive Alex Pereira’s onslaught at UFC 281
And in the days following his first career loss at the middleweight limit in mixed martial arts, Adesanya has claimed he was waiting for Pereira to “gas out” in that finishing sequence, despite maintaining he could understand Goddard’s decision to stop the fight.
“So, I was like, ‘OK, stand there, stand there, just don’t move, anymore, let him (Alex Pereira) gas out,” Israel Adesanya told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “So I was waiting for him to take big shots, so I put my head down; I could see his arms, and I could see his legs. That’s all I needed to look at. I know where his head is. So I’m just there moving, moving, moving. But to the referee, after two big shots and then I wobble, and I’m standing there looking like that, he’s going to be like, ‘Nah.’ And he’s being safe.”
“So when he (Marc Goddard) jumped in I’m like, ‘I’m fine. Aw, f*ck.’” Israel Adesanya continued. “I was literally just disappointed. I was waiting for him to gas out so I can do my work. I was going to take him down and then beat him up again.”
Attempting to land himself an immediate title rematch with Brazilian finisher, Pereira next, Adesanya insisted that even if the new champion were to lose the title immediately in his first attempted title defense, he would fight him in a non-title bout in his Octagon return.