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Israel Adesanya explains ‘petty’ UFC 287 celebration aimed at Alex Pereira’s son

Israel Adesanya always keeps the receipts, no matter who you are.

The UFC 287 main event marked the fourth combat sports meeting between Adesanya and Alex Pereira, with Pereira up 3-0 in the series before Adesanya crushed him via second-round knockout in their UFC middleweight championship rematch. Pereira defeated Adesanya at UFC 281 last November and also beat Adesanya twice in the kickboxing ring prior to their resuming their rivalry in the octagon.

It was their second kickboxing bout that inspired Adesanya’s post-fight celebration on Saturday. After leaving Pereira laid out, Adesanya first imitated the Brazilian star’s famed archery skills and then strolled over to one side of the cage where he performed an exaggerated flop to the mat.

At the evening’s post-fight press conference, Adesanya explained that he was simply returning the favor to Pereira’s son, who mocked him in similar fashion after Pereira knocked Adesanya out in March 2017.

Watch a comparison of the post-fight moments here:

“I’m petty,” Adesanya said. “I remember. The first time he knocked me out in Brazil, his son came into the ring and then just started to lie dead next to me. I’m like, ‘You f****** little a******, I’ll whoop your ass if your dad don’t do it for you.’ I looked for his kid, I pointed at him, and I saw him and I was like, ‘Hey, hey, hey,’ just to remind him.

“I saw [Pereira] backstage. We’re cool. He’s a great champion, he’s a warrior. His story, I mean that, I’m the antagonist of his story. He’s a f****** beast, coming from where he’s come from. The adversities he’s been through in his life to get to where he’s gotten now, and taking me out the way he has, it’s a f****** beautiful story for him. But like I said, tonight it’s not about his story, it’s about my story, which is history.”

Adesanya has a history of theatrics both pre- and post-fight. He is famous for his dramatic entrances, which include a choreographed group dance at UFC 243 and an homage to WWE legend The Undertaker at UFC 276. At UFC 253, he celebrated a knockout of Paulo Costa by pretending to hump him after the win.

A fan of anime, Adesanya was jokingly reminded that Pereira’s son may one day grow up and seek to avenge his father in the vein of a classic martial arts storyline, which Adesanya responded to in jest.

“If you can crawl, we can brawl,” Adesanya said with a chuckle.

See another angle of Adesanya’s UFC 287 post-fight celebration below, courtesy of UFC welterweight contender Belal Muhammad, who was cageside in Miami.

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