UFC 287 offered another amazing story. Israel Adesanya defied his biggest nightmare and took the championship back for himself with a hard knockout. And will he face Alex Pereira for a third time in MMA? Not only is the old middleweight king unsure, but neither is organization boss Dana White.
Israel Adesanya is once again the king of the welterweight division and, at least in the world of combat sports, he could change the well-known saying “all’s well with three” to “all’s well with four”.
It took him four fights to beat Alex Pereira. The man who beat him twice in kickboxing and once in MMA. In the main event of UFC 287, he defeated his rival with a brutal second-round knockout.
Understandably, the press conference immediately after the tournament addressed the possibility of another fight as soon as possible. But that was brushed off by both Adesanya and UFC boss Dana White. Moreover, both explained their views.
“I think Pereira will move up to welterweight. He’s huge. Now he had less than one kilo to lose an hour before the weigh-ins. He’s really big. I’m not saying he’ll actually do it, it’s up to him, he made the weight, but I think he’ll want to do it. Iwouldn’t be surprised, I actually expect it,” White expressed.
Adesanya wishes Pereira’s opponents the best of luck
Adesanya has another reason for turning down an immediate chance at another fight: “ I gave him the opportunity to fight for the title quickly. I could have turned him down before the first fight but I was looking for a new challenge. He beat me in kickboxing, that was the reason I took the fight with him.”
Among other things, the champion noted that while he got an immediate rematch by beating the entire top middleweight division, Pereira hadn’t actually fought anyone from the top division properly besides Sean Strickland. So if he wants another fight, he has to earn it.
Plus, Adesanya thinks the same thing as White. He expects Pereira to move up to welterweight, which is what the Brazilian’s partner Glover Teixeira has been talking about. After all, Pereira’s fight with Jiri Prochazka, for example, has already been widely talked about, and fans are looking forward to that fight. And it’s not even clear if it will happen at all.
“If he goes to welterweight, good luck to everybody because he’s one hell of a bastard who’s hard to take down,” Adesanya said.
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