Ahead of his UFC 276 title headliner against Jared Cannonier, undisputed middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya has welcomed a potential championship outing against past kickboxing foe, Alex Pereira – who also lands on the International Fight Week card.
Israel Adesanya, who headlines for the second time this year, attempts to secure his fifth successive defense of the middleweight crown, after defeating former kingpin, Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 back in February in the pair’s title re-run.
As for Pereira, the former GLORY Kickboxing duel-weight champion, returns to the Octagon on the main card of UFC 276 – vying for his third UFC victory as he meets Sean Strickland in a potential title-eliminator.
Infamously, the Brazilian striking sensation holds a pair of kickboxing victories over City Kickboxing mainstay, Adesanya – and is the first and current sole competitor to finish Adesanya via strikes, having besting the Nigerian-Kiwi with a March 2017 one-punch knockout in his native Brazil.
Embarking on a two-fight winning spree to begin his promotional tenure, Pereira landed in the Octagon with a spectacular second round flying knee knockout win over Andreas Michailidis at UFC 268 last November.
Israel Adesanya weighs up fighting Alex Pereira post-UFC 276 next weekend
Returning at UFC Vegas 50 back in March, Pereira managed to hand compatriot, former M-1 Global middleweight champion, Bruno Silva his first promotional loss in the form of a unanimous decision loss.
Ahead of his title offing against Cannonier, Adesanya weighed up the possibility of fighting Pereira in the sport of mixed martial arts. And believes any sort of bout between the two in that realm would end entirely differently.
“This isn’t kickboxing,” Israel Adesanya said during a press conference in Australia. “This is mixed martial arts. These ain’t big pillow gloves, these are four ounce, deadly weapons that I can’t wait to drive through [Alex Pereira’s] face after I go through Jared Cannonier.” (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)