In UFC, sometimes immediate rematches don’t end up being as immediate as they should be. Look at Jiri Prochazka vs. Glover Teixeira. Or, the immediate rematch between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman is in jeopardy because Usman is having surgery on his hand. Will the immediate rematch between Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya also fail to materialize?
Adesanya did sound like he wanted to take time off to take care of some nagging health injuries and just relax. And Khamzat Chimaev has been chomping at the bit to step in and face Pereira should there be any delay with “The Last Stylebender.” But, according to Adesanya’s coach, Eugene Bareman, they’re ready and willing to do a fourth “Poatan” fight sometime in Q1 of 2023.
“For sure, for sure,” Bareman told Submission Radio in a new interview. “That would work for us. I mean, like I said, we don’t have to extensively reinvent the wheel. In my opinion, we have to just tweak a few things and we can turn that fight around. So yeah, that’s what it more comes down to, is how much time do we need to train to kind of make the changes and the tweaks that we need to turn this fight around. And I just don’t anticipate we need to do a hell of a lot.”
Bareman is the kind of coach who has kept Adesanya out of competition a year following past losses, but he clearly doesn’t think anything that drastic is needed after the Pereira technical knockout (watch highlights).
“We just have to change a couple of tactics,” he said. “Yeah, like I said, change a couple of tactics, a couple things and we’ll be sweet. And we can do that within that given timeframe, yeah.”
With Pereira now 2-0 over Adesanya in kickboxing and 1-0 in UFC, Bareman knows they’ve only got one more shot at this opponent.
“We’re quietly confident,” he said. “You gotta understand, we were winning that fight relatively comfortably. We felt we were taking the rounds. But not comfortable enough – when you’re fighting somebody like that, who’s gameplan appears to be, it’s not a guy who builds his gameplan around accumulation of damage.
“He’s a guy that builds his gameplan around mentally wearing down and trying to land one big shot. And he’s comfortable giving rounds and then not panicking, because he gives away rounds and it’s part of a bigger picture for him. Setting up what he ultimately is looking for. And with a few adjustments we can make some changes there and build on a lot of positive things that happened in that fight for us.”
One thing Bareman doesn’t want to see is Chimaev jumping the line somehow. Chimaev — despite spending the past year as a Welterweight — called for a title shot shortly after Pereira beat Adesanya.
“Khamzat’s a rising star, but he’s done literally done nothing at Middleweight,” Bareman claimed. “So, he hasn’t established himself. You’re talking about two guys at the top of the food chain in terms of their status in combat sports. Khamzat’s a rising star. Like, he’s a massive rising star. But he’s not in the position of these two guys. This is the biggest fight. Khamzat still has to beat people at middleweight and work his way up to even fighting one of these guys.
“So, unless the politics take over and the business of the sport take over – and that’s essentially how we arrived at this fight that we’re talking about, right?” he continued. “So, it’s still the biggest fight to make. And at the end of the day, it’s not Alex’s choice. It will be Alex’s choice when he makes ‘x’ amount of title defenses and does well for the company and all that. Then it becomes Alex’s choice. But at the moment we’ve got a champion who’s done so much for this company, who’s defended his title so many times. He kind of gets to… if he wants a rematch, I believe that that’s what he should get.”
So long as Adesanya is ready to sign on the dotted line when UFC needs that 185-pound title back in the top slot of a pay-per-view (PPV), we can’t see them jumping to Pereira vs. Chimaev.