Exclusive: Kevin Lee Backs Alex Pereira To Beat Israel Adesanya In Immediate Rematch But Sees Him Falling Short to Khamzat Chimaev

'The Motown Phenom' is not sure if 'Stylebender' will be able to beat 'Poatan' in an immediate rematch and backed 'Borz' to take the gold

Israel Adesanya, Alex Pereira, Kevin Lee, Khamzat Chimaev
Credit: UFC, Kevin Lee, Khamzat Chimaev (via Twitter & Instagram)
  • Kevin Lee has backed Alex Pereira to retain his title in a potential immediate rematch with Israel Adesanya.
  • Lee believes Khamzat Chimaev has the right skill set to defeat Pereira

Former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya took on Pereira in the main event of UFC 281 this past Saturday. He went into the bout looking to avenge his two losses to Pereira in kickboxing and tie mixed martial arts legend Anderson Silva’s record for the longest win streak. Adesanya put in a competitive effort and appeared to be on his way to a decision win when Pereira unleashed a flurry of punches to score a standing TKO finish.

Following Pereira’s crowning moment as the new 185-pound king, company president Dana White hinted an immediate title rematch was not out of the question.

Kevin Lee backs Alex Pereira to beat Israel Adesanya in an immediate rematch

In a recent interview with James Lynch of Middle Easy, former UFC fighter Kevin Lee shared his thoughts on Pereira handing Adesanya the first middleweight loss of his MMA career.

“My heart goes out for (Adesanya). It kind of was like one of those heartbreaking losses, especially when I feel like he was winning the fight. I think everybody kind of feels like the fight was going great and to have that happen at the end is a little heartbreaking.

“I like that they will have a rematch. I don’t like picking a fighter to win an immediate rematch, especially if there’s a TKO or KO loss. My heart would still be with Izzy but it’s hard for me to see it going any other way, especially if it’s very fast. If they make that happen in January or February, I don’t see it being enough recovery time. He needs time to recover and kinda get his Witts back before they make that fight happen. Clearly, he can beat him and I think they will fight again, it’s just a matter of time and place and when and where you will do it.”

Lee says Khamzat Chimaev could claim the middleweight title from Pereira

Rising prospect Khamzat Chimaev wasted no time in calling out Pereira after his title win. According to Lee, the Chechen-Swede grappling expert will likely dispatch the striker maestro, who only has eight professional MMA fights so far.

“Yeah, it would be interesting to see Pereira vs. Chimaev. I would want Pereira to get more experience in MMA. He doesn’t have a whole lot of MMA fights. I know he’s got a lot of kickboxing fights but it takes somebody with a lot of experience to beat somebody like Chimaev. You have to be able to be calm under pressure because you know he’s going to come out there and put a ton of pressure on you.

“Pereira does have the size and skill to beat him obviously but I don’t necessarily know if he’s got the experience in MMA yet. I know he’s comfortable out there with Adesanya because he knows Adesanya real well and there’s nothing to worry about. But against a new fresh blood like Chimaev, he has to do more yet before I’m able to say he’s just going to steamroll him.”

Adesanya has expressed a desire to rematch Pereira but will take some time to get his medical issues fixed before returning. Meanwhile, Chimaev got linked to a potential top contender bout with Colby Covington for his next outing.

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