Heel turn! – Israel Adesanya praised for mocking Pereira’s son, pretending rivalry is over with one win

Chael Sonnen praises Israel Adesanya for his post-UFC 287 antics, which included mocking Alex Pereira's son.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 6 months ago
Heel turn! – Israel Adesanya praised for mocking Pereira’s son, pretending rivalry is over with one win
April 8, 2023, Miami, FL, Miami, Florida, United States: MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 8: Israel Adesanya celebrates his victory over Alex Pereira in their middleweight fight during the UFC 287 event at Kaseya Center on April 8, 2023 in Miami, FL, United States. Miami, FL United States - ZUMAp175 20230408_zsa_p175_169 Copyright: xAlejandroxSalazarx

Chael Sonnen is all praises towards newly-crowned UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. In the heat of the moment of his post-victory celebration, “The Last Stylebender” mimicked a bow-and-arrow execution on a downed Alex Pereira and went on to mock the Brazilian’s son who was in the audience soon after. 

Here’s Adesanya explaining his actions during his post-fight scrum, which he admitted were “petty.” 

Sonnen praises Israel Adesanya for mocking Pereira’s son

While Adensaya has been getting flak for his behavior, Chael Sonnen was all for it. 

“That was beautiful work,” Sonnen said of Adesanya’s celebration during Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour

“Just, that’s really good stuff right there. I mean, he was owed it. That was good stuff. Not to mention, I think the young man is still a minor. I think he was about six at the time of that kickboxing video. It’s been about [six] years. I think he’s six. 

“No, it’s a big deal though. If you do it to an adult, it’s a little different. If you do it to a minor — I just thought it was great. I really did.”

Israel Adesnaya’s heel turn is a ‘big deal’

As one of the sport’s all-time biggest heels, Sonnen lauded Adesanya for being the villain in this storyline. 

“I think he went heel — and it’s a big deal. If he has gone heel, it matters. And the reason I say that is when they throw to them backstage and Izzy’s trying to cheer up what’s-his-name, and Izzy is telling him, ‘Hey, great job, you’ll always be a champion to me,’ and then he goes into a post-fight press conference, he says, ‘Everything is square in the world. 

“Forget that he beat me three times and took everything I wanted and ran me out of a sport and beat me in front of the world, Madison Square Garden. I’ve won this one time.”

Sonnen saw a parallel between Adesanya’s rivalry with Pereira and the Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz beef, which has publicly been put to bed at the UFC 287 after-party on Sunday morning. 

“The only time I’ve ever seen that — and it was embarrassing the first time — is when Chuck [Liddell] lost to Tito [Ortiz], and Tito, who’d been cleaned up, lost his belt, lost his fame, lost his money, lost his position in the company, goes over to some show that nobody watched, lands a shot on a guy that’s 48 years old, and then tells you, ‘Well, everything’s good.’ 

“Well, no, it’s not good. Chuck is way ahead of you. He’s millions ahead of you. He’s fights, he’s experience, he’s opportunities, public perception ahead of you. He took all these things.

“So I saw Tito do that, and now I come back to Adesanya — Adesanya tried to act like we’re square. He ran you out of a sport. He chased you down in this one. He beat you at the Mecca. Not for nothing, but you’re not square — unless you’re a heel.”

What’s next for Israel Adesanya?

Now 1-3 in his rivalry with Pereira in both kickboxing and MMA, the 33-year-old Israel Adesanya (24-2) says that chapter of his career is now closed. He currently has his sights set on the number six-ranked Dricus Du Plessis, whom he wants to “whoop so bad.”

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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