Chael Sonnen believes the UFC 281 main event will set a precedent inside the Octagon.
The middleweight division’s next title fight will be between defending champ Israel Adesanya and kickboxing rival Alex Pereira. The stylistic matchup is anticipated to be a good one as Pereira has previously beat Adesanya twice in the ring, with one of those wins coming by knockout.
‘We’ve Never Seen This’
However, there’s no squared circle or big gloves this time around, which makes this upcoming fight all the more interesting to watch. Three-time title challenger Sonnen says the clash of styles between Adesanya vs. Pereira is something we haven’t seen in a while, not since the UFC’s beginning. In his eyes, this isn’t exactly MMA vs. MMA, it’s kickboxing vs. kickboxing.
“I wish that more kickboxers would’ve weighed in. I wish we could’ve got the Rufus brothers or even a Maurice Smith to come back… cause we’ve never seen this,” Sonnen told Middle Easy. “We have never seen two kickboxers [go at it]. I’ve been referencing 1993, the beginning, but that was always some form of grappling vs. a form of striking. We never really put a judo guy with a wrestling guy. I would like that kind of stuff. We never put a Tae Kwon Do with a guy with a karate guy. My point being we’ve never tested this. We’ve never tested two pure kickboxers.”
“There is no takedown in store, even if one of them wants to pull the great double cross, they don’t have that weapon. They’ve both spent all of their time, as far as it pertains to wrestling, defensively. All the time in the practice room is just to stop takedowns and stay on their feet. I’m very confident telling you, we have a kickboxing match with the little gloves on for the unified belt. I don’t know how this goes. Adesanya needs to dust it off and go touch him right away. The other side, Pereira needs to make sure he makes first contact quick and hard and reinforce all the negative thoughts that Izzy has had for the last four years.”
Uncle Chael’s Prediction
While Adesanya did lose not once but twice to Pereira in the kickboxing circuit, Sonnen is going to back the champ to keep his title at UFC 281.
“Israel Adesanya and I don’t have the foggiest idea why. I truly don’t,” Sonnen continued. “I’m trying to figure out, I’m trying to break that down, but the more information I get on Pereira, who’s a little bit of a mystery right now, but the more I get, the better it is for Pereira. [From] guys that know that sport, guys that watched it, guys that studied, guys that saw it back then.
“Now it comes out that Pierra is 52 pounds overweight. I didn’t realize he was such a large man. I saw a side by side with him with Dominick Reyes. Dominick is a very good size 205 pounder. I mean Pereira dwarfed him. So I didn’t know these things about Pereira, everything I found out about Pereira is a positive.”
Watch our full interview with Chael Sonnen below!