Anthony Smith believes there’s one man at middleweight who can unseat Israel Adesanya and the name may surprise you.
Adesanya is the reigning UFC Middleweight Champion. He is fresh off another successful title defense. He went one-on-one in a rematch against Robert Whittaker to headline UFC 271. While Adesanya couldn’t finish Whittaker again, he did enough to earn the unanimous decision victory.
An Old Foe Haunts Adesanya?
Israel Adesanya has just one loss in his pro MMA career and he remains undefeated at 185 pounds. Anthony Smith, who competes in the UFC light heavyweight division, shared his theory on who could give “Izzy” the most problems at middleweight.
Smith appeared on ESPN’s DC & RC Show and said that it could very well be Alex Pereira, who knocked out Adesanya in a kickboxing match back in back in 2017 (h/t BJPenn.com).
“I think the guy that’s probably got the best chance, and this is gonna be a crazy statement, he’s in the UFC but he’s not ranked. I think it’s Alex Pereira. This kid is good. The problem with Alex is he’s gonna have a tough time getting to Israel. There’s a lot of high-level wrestlers, some good jiu-jitsu guys, I think his hardest path is to get to him. I’m not putting a whole lot of weight into him already knocking Israel out in another organization and in another sport. He’s a guy who can fight Israel at his exact same game. He plays the same game, fights very similar, he’s very comfortable. He’ll keep the fight slow but explode when he has to. He’s got the power and the kicking ability, which is really big when it comes to Israel Adesanya. That’s why Jan Blachowicz was so successful.”
“The Last Stylebender” has yet to face anyone that gave him fits in the standup department during his UFC run. It’s the grappling that might just be key to dethroning “Izzy” as Jan Blachowicz utilized his grappling and size advantage to defeat him via unanimous decision.
With that said, if Pereira can make it to “Izzy,” he’d probably pose the greatest threat on the feet. Time will tell if these two will ever meet again.