Israel Adesanya was able to exact his vengeance and reclaim the middleweight championship with a knockout victory against his old rival Alex Pereira at UFC 287, which took place this past weekend in Miami. Adesanya engaged in a number of celebrations within the cage directed towards Pereira, such as throwing arrows at him, and he even made fun of “Pereira’s son.
Adesanya revealed after the victory that he remembered the first time Pereira knocked him out in Brazil, his son stepped into the ring and then started to lie lifeless next to him.
While watching the battle from cageside, Pereira’s son, who is 12 years old and a spectator, witnessed his father get severely knocked out in the second round of their main event fight. In the immediate aftermath of the match’s conclusion, Adesanya gestured at his opponent before falling to the ground and celebrating like the boy had done after his father won his second kickboxing match many years earlier in Brazil.
“I remember the first time [Pereira] knocked me out in Brazil, his son came into the ring and then started to lie dead next to me,” Adesanya explained after the win. “And I’m like, ‘you f—ing little asshole. I’ll whoop your ass if your dad don’t do it for you.’ So then, yeah, I looked for his kid, and I pointed at him, and I saw him, and I was like, ‘hey, hey, hey’ [motions like he fell] just to remind him.”
Pereira responded to the loss in a video post on his YouTube channel, stating that, had he been in Adesanya’s position, he never would have done what he did.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t do the same,” Pereira said. “I can play with him like I’ve always played. I’ve teased him, but I don’t know, he’s another child. I don’t know what his feelings were. He was enduring this for seven years and I saw his joy after the knockout. That was his dream. That was his dream and he made it, but we’re comparing him with a child who was 5 years old at the time, right?
“I don’t have that mind. I can prove it because today he’s 12 years old and before the fight I saw that he was being influenced by other people, sometimes he even participated in some interviews and some reporters asked [my son], ‘Are you going to do this again?’ and he laughed. He’s a kid and he thinks it’s funny.
“I knocked him out [at UFC 281], I won the belt, and my kid wanted to do the same thing up there. I told him, ‘No, stop, don’t do it. Stay here, don’t do anything.’ I’m a conscious guy about everything I’m saying here, and I wouldn’t do it. If he did it and felt better that way, ok, it’s a relief he had. And if he thinks it’s better for him, ok, that won’t change anything for me.”
After the middleweight fight, the two fighters met backstage and had a very polite conversation. Adesanya revealed that he had the intention to travel to Brazil and potentially train with him in
order to understand his kicks. Even though Pereira is unsure if it’s real or not, he’s willing to meet up in the future regardless.