“There’s ranges to this,” is an oft-repeated phrase in MMA circles. It additionally appears to be the explanation that UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya doesn’t see the person he faces in the principle occasion of Saturday’s UFC 281 pay-per-view card, Alex Pereira, as his equal.
“No, I don’t suppose [he presents the toughest challenge],” Adesanya advised ESPN. “He’s very one-dimensional. He’s early on on this sport as effectively so I’m even glad to get him now. I don’t know who he has in his nook. I do know he has Glover [Teixeira] and his boxing coach. I don’t know what their background is, I don’t actually thoughts, I simply fear about me. I undoubtedly know he’s not as good as me within the cage. I do know that for a truth.”
The 35-year-old Pereira has been a full-time MMA competitor for slightly greater than a yr. The Brazilian striker retired from kickboxing in September 2021. He then made his UFC debut on November 6, 2021. Pereira is 6-1 total in MMA. He’s 3-0 within the UFC and coming off his first win over a ranked opponent, a July knockout of Sean Strickland.
In contrast, Adesanya had a 21-1 MMA document by the point Pereira, who has two kickboxing victories over “The Final Stylebender,” made his UFC debut. That document included three UFC middleweight title defenses. Adesanya has added two extra defenses of his UFC crown to his total document (23-1) since Pereira started preventing underneath the UFC banner. Adesanya is coming off a July determination victory over Jared Cannonier.
Adesanya’s coach, Eugene Bareman of Metropolis Kickboxing, believes the principle purpose Pereira is competing in opposition to his fighter at UFC 281 is the shared non-MMA historical past between the 2 fighters.
“There’s no manner he will get a title shot if there wasn’t historical past there; it’s ridiculous,” stated Bareman. “It’s simply ridiculous that somebody would get a title shot [so quickly]. There’s historical past with Israel, and the story and the UFC, hate it or find it irresistible, Dana has to advertise fights. That’s one factor they do rather well. They picked up this historical past, picked up this may be an important battle that’s going to convey a number of eyes, and strategically push Alex so he might battle for the title.”
UFC 281 takes place on Saturday, November 12 at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York Metropolis. The primary card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+.