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Morning Report: Israel Adesanya reacts to Alex Pereira’s spectacular UFC debut: ‘I hope to see him’

Israel Adesanya will step on the scales Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas.
Israel Adesanya will step on the scales Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Israel Adesanya is not at all worried about Alex Pereira joining the UFC. In fact, he welcomes the challenge.

This past Saturday at UFC 268, Pereira made his promotional debut, knocking out Andreas Michailidis with a jumping knee in the second round. Though only 4-1 in his professional MMA career, Pereira arrives to the UFC to much fanfare on the back of his extensive kickboxing career, where he owns a knockout victory over Adesanya. The loss is the lone knockout defeat of Adesanya’s combat sports career and as such, fans are salivating about the potential of an Adesanya-Pereira rematch down the line, this time for UFC gold. And it turns out, so is the UFC middleweight champion.

In a video posted to his personal YouTube channel, Adesanya shows his real-time reaction to Pereira’s KO, where he calls Pereira’s shot and then celebrates the potential for a “new” challenge in the middleweight ranks.

“It’s pretty much like me and (Derek) Brunson – he’s trying to find a way (to grapple) because he’s scared of the striking,” Adesanya said. “Because you know he’s going to shoot, well-timed knee just straight up. Bang. There it is! I thought he was going to do it when he shot in, but I didn’t think he was going to fly at him.

“We talked about this like two days ago. We need something new. Especially after you lap the division again.”

Of course, making a debut over an unranked fighter, as impressive as it was, is a long way from challenging for the title, but given his history with Adesanya, Pereira could be fast-tracked up the division if he can continue winning. Adesanya says that he hopes it happens, and if it does, he warns everyone that Pereira won’t be facing the same guy he knocked out five years ago.

“Good job, Pereira. That was nice,” Adesanya said. “One thing I notice is everyone always holds on to that win he has over me like it’s the be all end all. I hope he does well. I hope he does well through the ranks. In the next four fights, I hope to see him. They’ll show you the knockout, but they won’t show you what happened before the fight. They won’t show you what happened before the finish. I hurt him, but I only throw these (raises fist) because I was infiltrated by other people’s thoughts. But that was when I was younger. Not anymore. It’s different now. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”


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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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