Who is the biggest threat to Israel Adesanya?
As of this writing, it’s longtime Brazilian rival and No. 4-ranked middleweight contender Alex Pereira, who faces “The Last Stylebender” in the UFC 281 pay-per-view (PPV) main event this Sat. night (Nov. 12, 2022) at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
But even if Adesanya is able to avenge his kickboxing losses to “Poatan” when the cage door closes this weekend in “The Empire State,” the competition won’t be getting any easier, thanks to the recent addition of collegiate wrestling deity Bo Nickal.
“Of course, if I’m going in there with a guy like Israel Adesanya, yeah, he’s a killer on the feet,” Nickal told Michael Bisping (transcribed by Farah Hannoun). “He can knock anybody out, he has amazing striking, and that goes without saying. Anytime you go into a fight there’s a risk of being knocked out. For me, when I look at that, that’s really my only chance of losing that fight. There’s not really a chance in the world he’s keeping me away and picking me apart for five or four rounds. I’m gonna get a hold of him at some point, I’m gonna bring him to the ground. He’s never fought anybody with one-tenth of the wrestling that I have, with one-tenth of the jiu-jitsu that I have. I don’t really know how he’s gonna stop me from bringing him to the ground and submitting him. I get it. Yeah, there’s always going to be a chance that I get knocked out, but we’ve seen this story too many times in this sport, and we know how it goes.”
Adesanya defeated Yoel Romero at UFC 248 and “Soldier of God” won a silver medal in the 2000 Olympics, which I would think is slightly more than one-tenth of Nickal’s wrestling. In addition, former “Stylebender” opponent Anderson Silva is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
But let’s not put the cart before the horse.
Nickal has yet to make his Octagon debut and still needs to prove himself against Top 10 competition. Considering his first UFC fight was delayed until 2023, we’re still a long way from any serious talk about Adesanya or middleweight title shots.