Israel Adesanya is presently regarded as one of the top fighters in the sport of MMA. Adesanya put on a spectacular performance in his most recent MMA bout against Paulo Costa, in their UFC Middleweight title matchup at UFC 253 in September.
Adesanya put on a striking clinic and stopped Costa via second-round TKO, thereby becoming the first fighter to ever defeat the latter in professional MMA competition.
Israel Adesanya’s only knockout loss came at the hands of Alex Pereira in their rematch
In light of his accolades in the combat sports realm, Israel Adesanya’s only KO loss – be it in boxing, kickboxing, or MMA – has quite often been the focal point of debates and discussions regarding the talented combatant.
Adesanya briefly competed as a professional boxer, however, predominantly cut his teeth with the very best strikers in the world in the sport of kickboxing. The Last Stylebender is said to have competed in 80 professional kickboxing bouts, amassing a record of 75 victories and five defeats.
Israel Adesanya’s lone KO defeat across the sports of boxing, kickboxing, and MMA came against Alex Pereira in round three of their fight at Glory of Heroes 7 back in 2017.
A year prior to his aforesaid KO loss to Pereira, Adesanya lost a closely contested bout to Pereira via unanimous decision at Glory of Heroes 1.
Israel Adesanya’s recklessness in pursuit of the finish led to him getting KO’d by Alex Pereira
In an appearance on The Fight with Teddy Atlas podcast, Israel Adesanya and his coach Eugene Bareman spoke on a wide variety of topics. Adesanya and Bareman recalled the former’s vicious KO loss to Alex Pereira in the aforementioned kickboxing matchup.
Teddy Atlas, Israel Adesanya, and Eugene Bareman, alongside the podcast’s co-host Ken Rideout, were involved in a detailed discussion regarding what they believe to be an oft-misunderstood attribute: “toughness” in the fight game.
Atlas, Adesanya, and Bareman, in particular, provided their respective views regarding toughness. They emphasized that mere physical toughness isn’t enough to succeed at the highest levels of combat sports.
They concurred that in addition to physical toughness, particularly the courage and durability to absorb damage, a fighter also ought to have mental toughness in order to make it to the top of their respective combat sport.
Additionally, they explained that simply taking damage to prove one’s toughness isn’t the best way to compete in a fight. Instead, one ought to exercise mental toughness and discipline to avoid taking damage.
Eugene Bareman cited Israel Adesanya’s loss to Alex Pereira as an example, stating:
“There’s only been one time in Israel’s career where he went away from that (mental) toughness. And he decided to go towards the other type of (physical) toughness. And it’s the only fight and the only time he’s been knocked out completely.
“That was because the fight before that he had a very close decision loss which most people thought he won. And then we faced an opponent that we also, many years before, lost a very close decision to.
“So instead of backing the toughness that you (Teddy Atlas) are talking about – the toughness of discipline, of sticking to a gameplan – he (Israel Adesanya) decided that he would be tough (merely physically) and try and exchange with this guy and make the result definitive.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)
Moreover, Bareman and Adesanya agreed that the latter was winning the fight against Pereira rather comfortably. That was until Adesanya started drifting away from the gameplan and recklessly pursued the finish, before getting caught by Pereira’s lethal left hook.
What are your thoughts on Israel Adesanya losing to Alex Pereira? Sound off in the comments.