‘I will never face him again’ — Alex Pereira confident he ends Israel Adesanya rivalry at UFC 287 

Alex Pereira says with another win over Israel Adesanya, their long-standing rivalry will be over.

By: Kristen King | 2 months ago
‘I will never face him again’ — Alex Pereira confident he ends Israel Adesanya rivalry at UFC 287 
NEW YORK CITY, NY - NOVEMBER 12: L-R Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira exchange punches in their Middleweight title fight during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City, New York, United States. Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages Louis Grasse / SPP PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxBRAxMEX Copyright: xLouisxGrassex/xSPPx spp-en-LoGr-lrg2211121115096_UFC281_MAIN

Alex Pereira expects to end his rivalry with Israel Adesanya in their fourth (and potentially) final fight. 

Alex Pereira envisions a fourth win against Israel Adesanya at UFC 287

The reigning UFC middleweight champion is 3-0 against Adesanya, who he has defeated twice in kickboxing and once in mixed martial arts. In their most recent fight, ‘Po Atan’ dethroned the ‘Last Stylebender’ by fifth-round TKO at UFC 281 this past November. 

An immediate rematch was scheduled, and the pair are expected to start the next chapter of their rivalry. But if Pereira has his way, he wants to end it for good with a win against Adesanya at UFC 287 on Saturday. 

“I believe that me beating him this Saturday, I will never face him again,” said Pereira at his media day (video provided by MMA Fighting).

Should he get his hand raised, Pereira also said a move from middleweight to light heavyweight is not in the cards — for now. The Brazilian has set his sights on a historic reign, so he expects to face a slew of new challengers such as Robert Whittaker or Paulo Costa after Adesanya in the near future.

However, there is one name Pereira is dismissing from his list of potential opponents.

“This week, I’m obviously focused on Israel,” said Pereira. “But talk about Whittaker and Paulo Costa. I know they want to fight me. They were never disrespectful. They always kept their composure. But, when you talk about [Khamzat] Chimaev, he’s the kind of guy that seems to be a little lost, talks too much.

“Right after my last fight, he said that he wanted to fight me at this weight class,” continued Pereira. “He knows it was right after the fight, everybody’s injured. I could not make that weight so I challenged him to [a] fight at 205 pounds. [He] Ran. To be honest, if it’s Whittaker or Paulo Costa, if the organization wants to put us to fight, it’s my job to fight as the UFC champion. But I don’t even want to talk about Chimaev.”

Adesanya agrees with Pereira on fourth fight

As for Adesanya, the former UFC middleweight champion agrees that this is perhaps the final time he fights Pereira. And if it is, he hopes to come out on top in what he sees as his 8 Mile moment. 

“This is it. This is it for me,” said Adesanya at his media day (video provided by MMA Fighting). “Imagine what if I get it done — what if I get it done better than he’s ever done it? What if I butcher him and beat the f—k out of him? Because I always do, but I just ramp it up now and I don’t let him get any breath and I take him out, I put him on his back. We’ll find out. 

“I do all this s—t and beat his ass, do some damage to him, and it’s like, ‘Wow. Amazing,’” continued Adesanya. “Like I said, I don’t keep score, I settle them — and he who laughs last, laughs best.”

When is UFC 287?

UFC 287 goes down on Sat., April 8, at the Miami-Dade Arena (now Kaseya Center) in Miami, Fla. Pereira defends for the first time against Adesanya in the headliner, and Gilbert Burns vs. Jorge Masvidal serves as the co-headliner. The ESPN+ prelim portion starts at 6:00 PM ET/3:00 PM PT, while the pay-per-view portion begins at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PT.

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About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

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