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Israel Adesanya already planning return to light heavyweight, debut at heavyweight after UFC 281

Israel Adesanya is expecting to whoop Alex Pereira at UFC 281.

That may explain why “The Last Stylebender” is already making plans for his longterm future after disposing of “Poatan” in this Sat. night’s (Nov. 12) pay-per-view (PPV) championship main event, which takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

LIVE! Watch UFC 295 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

TWO TITLES UP FOR GRABS! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sat., Nov. 11, 2023, with a re-worked pay-per-view (PPV) main card. In the ESPN+-streamed main event, former 205-pound roost-ruler, Jiri Prochazka, will lock horns with ex-Middleweight kingpin, Alex Pereira, for the promotion’s vacant Light Heavyweight title. In UFC 295’s co-main event, top-ranked Heavyweight contenders, Sergei Pavlovich (No. 2) and Tom Aspinall (No. 4), will collide for the interim strap after division champion, Jon Jones, was injured with a torn pectoral muscle and forced to withdraw (video).

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One of those future goals involves redemption in the light heavyweight division. The 23-1 Adesanya lost his perfect record when failed to knock then-champion Jan Blachowicz from his 205-pound perch in the UFC 259 headliner back in March 2021.

If at first you don’t succeed...

“I’ll lap the (middleweight) division again, and then I’ll go back up at some point just for my own – maybe a little bit of ego, but yeah, just because I can do it,” Adesanya told reporters at the UFC 281 media day (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “It doesn’t have to be for the belt. Right now, other Paradigm (Sports) guy Jiri’s (Prochazka) got the belt, so let him do his thing. I just like testing myself. Again, there’s heavyweight. I’m not saying I can beat every 205 guy or every f*cking heavyweight, but they’ll have problems with me. And yeah, there’ll be times when (coach) Eugene (Bareman) might say, ‘Take that guy out.’ And I’m like, ‘Who? What? All right, bet.’ And I’ll take them out.”

First things first.

Adesanya, 33, has what many experts believe to be his most challenging test to date in the form of Pereira, a monstrous middleweight with two victories over “The Last Stylebender” on the kickboxing circuit, including one by devastating knockout.

Beating the Brazilian would create an interesting scenario for the promotion because Adesanya will have defeated the Top 6 of his division. Perhaps that return to light heavyweight (or debut at heavyweight) will be coming much sooner than expected.

Assuming he’s not frozen like Elsa. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 281 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPNews at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 281: “Adesanya vs. Pereira” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the complete UFC 281 fight card and PPV line up click here.

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