Israel Adesanya's former foe Alex Pereira is expected to sign with the UFC soon after his fight with Artem Vakhitov. The Brazilian has had an impressive kickboxing career, picking up 33 wins in his 39 fights.
The exciting thing about Pereira's kickboxing record is that two of his 33 wins came against current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. The two fighters first faced off in April 2016 at Glory of Heroes in China. 'Poatan' won the three-round fight via a unanimous decision.
Their second encounter took place in March 2017 at Glory of Heroes 7. This time, the Brazilian striker decided not to leave the result to the judges and finished Adesanya via KO. Pereira remains the only athlete to have knocked out 'The Last Stylebender'.
Many believe Pereira will be the fighter to hand Adesanya his first middleweight loss in the UFC. However, there's a good chance that the New Zealander may get the better of 'Poatan' in an MMA fight.
Here are three reasons why Alex Pereira might fail to defeat Israel Adesanya in the UFC:
#3. Israel Adesanya should have the grappling edge
Although known for his flashy striking moves, Israel Adesanya has decent grappling skills. 'The Last Stylebender' has managed to stuff takedown attempts from talented ground-fighters like Marvin Vettori and Derek Brunson.
In December 2020, The New Zealander also achieved a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, awarded to him by his coach Andre Galvao. So it's hard to imagine that Pereira, who has mostly competed as a kickboxer, would be able to get the better of Adesanya in the grappling exchanges.
#2. Israel Adesanya has grown by leaps and bounds since his knockout loss to Alex Pereira
The second fight between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira happened more than four years ago. 'The Last Stylebender' has come a long way since then. He has improved his fighting game significantly with every bout he's had in the UFC. He's also stacked up five championship wins (including his interim title win against Kelvin Gastelum).
Adesanya has fought and defeated heavy hitters like Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa since reaching the middleweight mountaintop. The 32-year-old clearly has a good chin and can take power shots from his opponents. He's also shown his ability to avoid his opponent's strikes on the feet. That will certainly reduce Pereira's threat to the Nigerian-New Zealander should the pair have a trilogy fight.
#1. Alex Pereira lacks MMA experience
Despite being a renowned name in the world of kickboxing, Alex Pereira has only competed four times as a professional MMA fighter. The Brazilian's last MMA fight took place in November 2020 at LFA 95, more than four years after his third fight in May 2016.
Israel Adesanya, on the other hand, has been competing as a professional MMA athlete since March 2012. 'The Last Stylebender' has fought 22 MMA contests and won all but one of them.
During his time in the UFC, Adesanya has shared the octagon with elite fighters like Robert Whittaker and Anderson Silva.
The difference in MMA experience between the two fighters is huge. For that reason, the current middleweight champion should be considered the favorite if an MMA fight does happen between the two.