The rematch between Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya, which will take place this coming Saturday at UFC 287, marks the climax of a rivalry that dates back to a time well before either fighter entered the octagon for the first time.
In only his ninth professional MMA fight, “Poatan” stunned the world last November at UFC 281 by coming back in the fifth round to finish Adesanya with blows and win the UFC middleweight belt. Yet, that was merely the continuation of a feud that had been going on for years, as Pereira had already defeated Adesanya twice in kickboxing. This led to the question of whether the two-division Glory titleholder simply has Adesanya’s number or not.
Adesanya had a historic run at 185 pounds that had him on the cusp of joining the pantheon of greats before losing to Pereira. Is it possible that “The Last Stylebender” would be able to continue his winning streak if he finally overcomes his archenemy, or is it certain that the same thing will happen again? That is a question that should be asked by everyone.
While he is aware that his MMA rematch with Alex Pereira at UFC 287 is a win-or-go-home situation, Israel Adesanya is not trying to play down the significance of the bout.
Adesanya is aware that there is no point in pretending that UFC 287 is just another fight because everything will be on the line when it takes place on Saturday night. He is aware that this may very well be his last opportunity to purge his demons against the one and only opponent in his career who has ever knocked him out.
The fact that Adesanya has come so close to winning each of his three prior fights versus Pereira is likely the aspect of their rivalry that is the most irritating for fans to watch. At first glance, it seemed as though he was well on his way to winning by unanimous decision at UFC 281. However, Pereira produced a late comeback and submitted Adesanya with less than three minutes remaining in the fight. Their first kickboxing battle, which took place in 2016, is widely viewed as having featured judges who made questionable decisions in favour of the Brazilian. Nonetheless, Pereira was able to accomplish a similar feat in their rematch which took place in 2017.
Hence, from a tactical standpoint, Adesanya is aware that he is doing everything right; all that remains for him to do is put the final touches on his performance and stop Pereira from pulling another rabbit out of his hat.