Alex Pereira believes he is Israel Adesanya's boogeyman across kickboxing and MMA, and that the former champion will never beat him. The newly crowned UFC middleweight king recently stated that Adesanya needs to accept the fact that 'Poatan' has his number.
During a recent podcast appearance, Pereira discussed how during his amateur kickboxing career, he suffered three defeats to the same opponent and later came to a realization. The Brazilian learned that some fighters are just bad stylistic matchups for others, similar to how Adesanya is a nightmare matchup for former champion Robert Whittaker.
Adesanya has two wins over Whittaker in the UFC, while Pereira now holds three wins over 'The Last Stylebender' across combat sports. 'Poatan' said in a recent interview:
"I have 28 fights as an amateur. I won 25 of them by knockout. I lost 3 fights. 3 times to the same guy... I don't understand why. But now I do. The styles don't match... The guy has stopped fighting, and if I fought him again today, I think I'd lose. Adesanya needs to get that, the same way Whittaker did." [Subtitles via @CrashMMA]
The rivalry between Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya dates all the way back to 2016. The duo squared off in their first kickboxing bout in China at Glory of Heroes 1, with Pereira winning via unanimous decision after a closely contested fight. 'Poatan' won the rematch a year later with a sensational knockout, the last kickboxing fight of Adesanya's career.
Pereira shocked the MMA world by finishing Adesanya in their UFC middleweight championship bout earlier this month. Given Adesanya's achievements inside the octagon, it is expected that the former 185-pound champion will get his rematch against Pereira next year.
Israel Adesanya opens up on loss to Alex Pereira at UFC 281, discusses leg injury
Alex Pereira was seemingly en route to a decision loss at UFC 281 heading into the fifth and final round of his championship bout against Israel Adesanya. In the final frame, 'Poatan' cornered the then-champion against the cage and unleashed a barrage of vicious blows, prompting the referee to call a halt to the action as Adesanya was clearly compromised.
In a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, 'The Last Stylebender' opened up about the moment Pereira's leg kick hurt his movement and caused his left leg to be compromised in the very first round, which hampered his movement throughout the fight:
"They were just like snappy ones [leg kicks] but I think the second one that landed properly... I almost felt like the nerves got struck like a guitar cord. I just felt the vibration like an electric shock. It was weird..."
"In round two, I'm controlling, that's when my leg starts to drag a little bit - my left leg... Like, 'What the f***?' Trying to plant it was weird... His leg was compromised as well but mine, it’s just that he affected the movement by striking the nerve."
Watch Israel Adesanya recap his title loss below: