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Alex Pereira: Israel Adesanya would ‘never give me props,’ ask ‘if he was impressed when I knocked him out’

UFC 276: Strickland v Pereira Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya weren’t impressed with either of their most recent performances at UFC 276 two weekends ago (July 2, 2022). Luckily for them, they’ll likely get to fight about it in their next fight.

The reigning Middleweight champion, Adesanya, capped off the night’s festivities at UFC 276, comfortably defeating Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (watch highlights). Never in any real danger over the five rounds provided, the victory acted as “The Last Stylebender’s” fifth official defense of his title and was a display he thought was just fine — unlike Pereira.

“I was there [cageside] and saw the fight, and I say it didn’t impress me,” Pereira told MMA Fighting. “It didn’t excite me nor the fans. There’s video of lines of people leaving the arena after the fourth round. People pay expensive tickets and they want to stay until the last minute to see who’s the champion and see him getting his hands raised. For people to act like that it’s because it wasn’t exciting.”

Just one fight before Adesanya’s that night, Pereira made his third walk to the Octagon. Taking on a big challenge in then-No. 4-ranked contender, Sean Strickland, the Brazilian world kickboxing champion made quick work of his adversary, landing the knockout blow mid-way through round one (watch highlights).

Despite Strickland’s standing in the division, Adesanya noted after the event that it still wasn’t that impressive considering each fighters’ skill set. Pereira, a former two-time opponent of Adesanya’s in kickboxing, defeated him in both of their previous bouts. First by unanimous decision, followed by a brutal third round knockout. With all that in mind, “Poatan” isn’t at all surprised his rival had the type of reaction that he did.

“Of course, he’d never give me props, but what he thinks or doesn’t think doesn’t change a thing to me,” Pereira said. “You have to ask him if he was impressed when I knocked him out. Was he not impressed? If he wasn’t, he’s sick. If he was impressed in his own fight [at UFC 276], that’s good enough to me.

“You think he wouldn’t KO the guy if he could?” he continued. “‘Oh, I’m going to make it look like an easy fight.’ You think he didn’t want [to KO him]? Of course he did, but the other guy didn’t let him do it. He’s giving his best in there. There’s no way, you can’t control it. What he’s doing there is his best. Who doesn’t want [a KO]? If you can have the power to retain the title by submission or knockout, who wouldn’t want that?”


For complete UFC 276 results and live play-by-play click here. To check out the latest and greatest UFC 276: “Adesanya vs. Cannonier” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.