Israel Adesanya will defend his title for the sixth time when he faces Alex Pereira at UFC 281 next month. The UFC middleweight champion recently described changes in his training camp as he prepares for the upcoming fight.
Speaking to Combat TV, Adesanya stated:
"This camp isn't just a step up, it's more like three steps up. Dan [Hooker] put it in the way like Eugene [Bareman] shook a snow globe. The last three weeks have been work, work so I know what's gonna happen. I know what we have to do, us four that is, to get the job done because we're fit. I can tell you that much - we're fit. We're already great fighters but we're really fit right now."
"My mental's [aspect] already strong. For me, it's not the techniques, but the gameplan if you want to say that. I like the gameplan we have. A and B. I'll stick to A, but if we need to go to B - and I can freestyle as well and that's my thing so I'm ready for whatever."
The UFC's No. 2-ranked pound-for-pound fighter will look to avenge his two kickboxing losses to Pereira. The No.4-ranked middleweight remains the only fighter to knock Adesanya out, which happened during their rematch in Glory of Heroes in 2017.
Watch Israel Adesanya's comments on his training camp ahead of UFC 281 below (starting at the 0:40 mark):
Robert Whittaker believes Israel Adesanya will defend his belt at UFC 281
Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya are quite familiar with each other. Adesanya defeated Whittaker via knockout at UFC 243 to become the middleweight champion. In their rematch at UFC 271, he successfully defended his belt for the fourth time, defeating the No.1-ranked middleweight via unanimous decision. As Adesanya prepares for his sixth title defense, 'The Reaper' believes that he will emerge victorious against 'Poatan'.
Speaking to MMA Pros Pick, Whittaker stated:
"If I was a betting man, I'd go with Adesanya, you'd have to. I think he's the best defensive striker in the game, physically it just makes perfect sense for him to fight that way and he's a tricky guy to hit, but Pereira is huge, man. He's a huge guy and they've fought before so they have some sort of understanding of each other's reach."
Alluding to the combatants' kickboxing days, Whittaker added that the smaller, lighter gloves used in MMA will be a big factor in deciding the victor.
Watch Robert Whittaker share this thougths on Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira below (starting at the 0:10 mark):