Israel Adesanya is eager for a rematch after being TKO’d by Alex Pereira to end his long middleweight title reign at UFC 281 earlier this month, but having also beaten him twice in the kickboxing ring, Pereira thinks it’s time for ‘The Last Stylebender’ to admit defeat.
And though that’s not an easy thing to do, Pereira softened the blow by revealing that he too had a nemesis much earlier in his career who he couldn’t seem to beat no matter how hard he tried.
“I’m going to say something that I’ve never told anyone,” Pereira told Super Lutas. “I have 28 fights in amateur. I won 25 of them by knockout. I lost three fights. Three times to the same guy. In amateur, three fights. I don’t understand why. But now I do. The styles don’t match.
“The guy has stopped fighting. If I fought him again today, I think I’d lose again. Even though he’s done fighting, if I fought him, I would lose. If I fought him 10 times, I’ll lose.
“Adesanya needs to get that, the same way Whittaker did. He just doesn’t accept it.”
Pereira’s advice is likely to fall on deaf ears though, and if Adesanya still wants to fight him again then it’s unlikely the UFC will stand in his way given that before this fight he was unbeaten in 23 middleweight fights, including five successful title defenses.
And to be fair to Adesanya, he did appear to be winning their latest fight up until the final round when Pereira turned up the heat and finished him with a relentless barrage of strikes.
That’s become a familiar story for Adesanya as he was also in the ascendency in their second kickboxing encounter, right up until the moment he was KO’d in the third round, while some have suggested that he deserved to get the nod on the scorecards in their first fight too.
Nevertheless, all that matters in the end is who emerged with their hand raised, and given the decisive nature of his finishes in their last two fights it’s understandable why Pereira would now be eager to move on from this rivalry.
However, the likelihood is that he’ll have to do it all over again one last time in order to finally put the matter to rest once and for all.