Israel Adesanya has enough experience with Jan Blachowicz and Alex Pereira to do some dissecting of their upcoming fight. After successful defenses against Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa in 2020, the UFC middleweight champion decided to pursue champ-champ status against then-UFC light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz in 2021. The ‘Last Stylebender’ was heavily favored to defeat the fighter with legendary Polish Power to join the handful of two-division champions in UFC history.
That was until they set foot in the Octagon, and Blachowicz employed a new, grapple-heavy game plan against Adesanya. And after five rounds, the Polish fighter defeated Adesanya via unanimous decision, retaining his title and handing the Nigerian-New Zealander his first UFC loss.
Israel Adesanya says Jan Blachowicz will take Alex Pereira down
Now familiar with his strategy, Israel Adesanya recently explained why Blachowicz is likely to re-employ it against Pereira.
“I think Jan is going to take him down and just beat him up there,” said Adesanya on his official YouTube channel. “Jan will stand with him for a bit, but eventually just get him to the fence or try and take him down the way he took me down. I don’t think he’s going to shoot, so he’s either going to him to the fence.”
Though stunned by it, Israel Adesanya gave credit to Blachowicz for changing up his strategy. To the City Kickboxing product, if it foiled him, it could foil Pereira, who has received criticism for his grappling in the past.
“It wasn’t frustrating at the time because I was still catching him sometimes, but also it’s respect,” said Adesanya. “I thought he was going to come and fight the way he normally fights, but then he did that at the right times and took me down. So, yeah, he could get caught coming in. He could. It depends. What if he gets him down and keeps him down? I don’t know, we’ll have to see. I’m not doing a f—king prediction for this fight, but right now, it’s funny. I think it’s a nice match-up to make.”
Alex Pereira responds to critics of his grappling
Alex Pereira has previously responded to his critics, saying that he can most certainly grapple and did so against Israel Adesanya in their first fight at UFC 281 this past November.
“If you recall [my] grappling game, [I’ve] been training with such high-caliber guys,” said Pereira in an interview with Brett Okamoto of ESPN. “The people who talk about that are people that have never grappled [with me], people that have never trained [with] me. All the guys that come in and roll with [me], grapple, do some MMA, they leave very surprised. They say, ‘Man, I didn’t know he could grapple that.’ But like I said, [I’m] not trying to prove nothing to nobody. [I’m] just doing [my] thing, but stay tuned for the future.
“People say that [I] cannot grapple, but I don’t think almost nobody could be able to put Israel down with a takedown,” continued Pereira. “I took him down, so what’s going on?”
One of the most noteworthy names Pereira trains with is Glover Teixeira, the former UFC light heavyweight champion who has a win against Blachowicz. The Brazilian submitted the Berkut WCA Fight Team fighter via second-round rear-naked choke, so ‘Po Atan’ says he is confident he can handle himself against Blachowicz with the information given to him by Teixeira as they prepare for his upcoming fight.
When is Jan Blachowicz vs. Alex Pereira?
UFC 291 goes down on Sat., July 29, at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje II headlines, while Jan Blachowicz vs. Alex Pereira co-headlines. No news on if Israel Adesanya will be in attendance.
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