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Adesanya: Beating a ‘killer’ like Alex Pereira more important than defending UFC title — ‘F*ck the belt’

Israel Adesanya has something to prove.

The reigning middleweight champion will defend his 185-pound title against top contender Alex Pereira in the UFC 281 pay-per-view (PPV) main event on Nov. 12 in New York City, a five-round showdown that will give “The Last Stylebender” an opportunity to avenge his previous losses to “Poatan” on the kickboxing circuit.

LIVE! Watch UFC 293 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

MASSIVE MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Sydney, Australia, for the first time in five years on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023, with a 185-pound world title fight inside Qudos Bank Arena. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, plans to silence No. 5-seeded contender, Sean Strickland. In UFC 293’s hard-hitting Heavyweight co-main event, No-6-ranked fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with towering Russian, Alexander Volkov (No. 8).

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

“Beating him, that’s what matters,” Adesanya said during his latest video blog (transcribed by Farah Hannoun). “Like, the belt? Fuck the belt. Just beating him, a killer like him, that’s what matters. It’s not gonna be like last time. This is a different fighter you’re facing, and now I’ve become another fighter. I’ve re-birthed myself. I’ve re-birthed it, and I just feel like I want to have fun. That’s the goal. But this fight, I’m gonna have fun. That’s the ultimate goal. And when I have fun, I’m the best in the world.”

Outclassing Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 pushed Adesanya to 12-0 in the middleweight division (23-1 overall) and put him in the win column against four of the current Top 5 contenders. His only defeat in MMA came against Jan Blachowicz in the light heavyweight class. As for the 6-1 Pereira, he continued his winning ways last July in “Sin City,” crushing Sean Strickland in the opening frame with a punishing left hook.

That performance, coupled with his knockout win over Adesanya, was enough to greenlight a UFC 281 title shot, despite multiple protests from Team Stylebender. A victory for Pereira could pave the way for an immediate rematch, or open the gate for veteran keepers like Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori, among others.

Remember that 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 online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard (on ESPNEWS/ESPN+) at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

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.

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