‘I’ll Expose Him’, Israel Adesanya Confident He’ll Avenge KO Loss At UFC 281

Third time lucky?

Israel adesanya in gym

UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya has vowed to “expose” Alex Pereira at their headline clash for the belt this Saturday at UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Nigerian-born, New Zealand-based UFC fighter has previously suffered two losses to Pereira, although these have admittedly come in kickboxing, and not UFC.

Their first fight saw Adesanya lose a close decision to Pereira, when the pair fought in China in 2016. Their second fight, which occurred on 4 March 2017, saw Adesanya get completely flatlined by the Brazilian, which spawned this viral clip.

But this time, at UFC 281, ‘The Last Stylebender’ claims it’s going to be a different outcome.

In an interview with MMA journalist Kevin Iole, Israel Adesanya was supremely confident heading into the bout:

“I’ll expose him yeah. He’s only here because of me and it was favourable… I’d rather take him out now because he’s actually easy.”

He added, “I’ll cause a blemish on his career.”

Israel Adesanya (left) has lost twice to Alex Pereira (right) in kickboxing matches. Image: @IsraelAdesanya & @AlexPereira

The UFC Middleweight Champion, who fights out of Auckland, has the right to be confident though.

Adesanya is undefeated at middleweight, having defended the title five times since winning the belt at UFC 243 in Melbourne, back in 2019.

By contrast, Pereira is vastly less experienced in mixed martial arts (MMA), with a professional record of 6-1.

But “Poatan” – which translates to “Hands of Stone” in Pereira’s indigenous Brazilian language – should also not be written off.

In the few fights he has had in the promotion, he has wowed fans with his flashy flying knee finishes and his recent demolition of middleweight contender Sean Strickland at UFC 276 in July.

Part of what makes this fight so interesting is seeing whether Israel Adesanya can finally overcome his proverbial ‘bogeyman’ under MMA rules.

Unlike kickboxing, UFC fighters fight with four-ounce gloves instead of ten, and the UFC octagon is much larger than a typical boxing ring.

There is a lot of pressure on ‘The Last Stylebender’ for this fight; the video of his KO loss has seemed to follow the fighter since he entered the UFC.

“I’ve seen it, I don’t even know how many times,” said Adesanya.

“I’ve never shied away from it. For years it never really showed up on my radar, but then, once I started to get popping in the UFC, it started to pop up again because he was posting it.”

He continued, “For a lot of people, their worst fear is getting knocked out in a big fight. That’s already happened to me…That frees me.”

Israel has previously highlighted how he managed to maintain a winning mindset during the global lockdown, so we have no doubt he’ll be looking to take that with him into his upcoming bout.

UFC 281 is available to watch live in Australia on Sunday at 2pm AEDT.

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