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Dana White: Israel Adesanya didn’t deliver on promises at UFC 276, but Alex Pereira fight will be ‘bats*** nuts’

Israel Adesanya has faced mounting criticisms in the wake of his decision win over Jared Cannonier at UFC 276.

While Adesanya ultimately scored a lopsided victory on the scorecards to successfully defend his UFC middleweight title, the fight wasn’t exactly filled with memorable highlights that will live on forever. In the days since UFC 276, Adesanya has defended his victory and touted the dominance he showed over five rounds in what was ultimately his third consecutive win by decision.

After missing out on the event while on vacation, UFC president Dana White admitted that Adesanya’s performance didn’t necessarily live up to the billing. But he also knows Cannonier wasn’t exactly seeking a Fight of the Night bonus either.

“He won,” White said when addressing Adesanya at the UFC Long Island post-fight press conference. “I don’t know if it was the performance that he wanted to give or that he was selling leading into that fight.

“The other thing is, I don’t think his opponent was very aggressive either. It takes two to make a great fight.”

Whether criticisms aimed at Adesanya are fair or foul, White expects a much different outcome when the reigning UFC middleweight champion defends his title next.

Adesanya is expected to clash with former two-division GLORY kickboxing champion Alex Pereira, who scored a vicious first-round knockout over Sean Strickland at UFC 276 to secure his spot as the No. 1 contender in the division.

Of course, Pereira also happens to hold a pair of wins over Adesanya from two previous meetings in kickboxing, which includes a devastating knockout in their rematch in 2017.

The rivalry between Adesanya and Pereira has only continued to grow since UFC 276 ended, and White knows without a doubt that the fight will deliver beyond any and all expectations.

“It won’t happen in the next fight,” White said. “When you’re sitting here in my position, you can’t give too many guarantees.

“I can say, ‘Stylistically, on paper this should be…’ or, ‘We feel this is going to be…’ — I f****** guarantee you, I absolutely, positively guarantee you, that the next fight that Israel Adesanya fights will be absolutely bats*** nuts.”

It’s hard to argue with White’s logic given the history Adesanya and Pereira share with each other, not to mention the bad blood that’s building in anticipation of the fight.

Since joining the UFC roster, Pereira has gone undefeated while making a rapid rise up the ranks, which was capped off with his knockout over Strickland to earn the title shot.

As for Adesanya, he has never tasted defeat at middleweight in the UFC, but now he’ll look to avenge arguably the toughest loss of his combat sports career after he got demolished by Pereira in their last encounter.

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