Israel Adesanya will once again attempt to solve the puzzle that is Alex Pereira.
UFC president Dana White revealed in a blockbuster announcement that newly crowned middle champion Alex Pereira will defend his title in a rematch with the man he has beaten on three separate occasions, Israel Adesanya. The two strikers previously met under the GLORY Kickboxing banner with Pereira coming out on top in both instances. Pereira once again proved he had Adesanya’s number when he spectacularly knocked out ‘The Last Stylebender’ in the UFC 281 main event last year.
Discussing the highly anticipated rematch on The Joe Rogan Experience, UFC fighter-turned-analyst Paul Felder believes that a rematch with Adesanya is the best possible matchup for the relatively one-dimensional Alex Pereira.
“It’s kind of working out perfectly for Alex where you get another shot.” Felder said. “You get to go and face Israel again. That’s the best matchup for you. You’ve got a guy who is probably going to stand with you for as long as the fight lasts. When he’s really going to get challenged is when he has somebody that’s gonna say, ‘I’m gonna grapple your a**. I’m gonna pressure you up against the fence.’
“And for guys like (Marvin) Vettori, they want [Pereira] to stay the champ because Izzy already had their number and he’s been there, but as long as Pereira is in there… Another kickboxer, but maybe with a different style. Maybe not as much experience in the grappling department, they’re chomping at the bit to get in there.”
If Israel Adesanya Comes Up Short Against Alex Pereira, A Grappler Could Potentially Dethrone Alex Pereira
Given Alex Pereira’s status as one of the most dangerous strikers on the planet, “chomping at the bit” may be an extreme assumption from Felder. Nevertheless, every middleweight competitor with a modicum of experience on the ground is interested in testing their mettle against the new 185-pound king.
“I’m really interested in seeing what Israel does different in the second fight, but I’m really interested in [Pereira] against someone who can wrestle,” Rogan added. “That’s what I’m really interested in.”
If Pereira makes it 4-0 against Adesanya, chances are we will see how he handles competing against a more grapple-heavy opponent. The two warriors are expected to headline UFC 287 on April 8. No location or venue has been announced. The event is rumored to take place in New York.