Israel Adesanya had an off night at UFC 276, which took place earlier this month inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Almost everyone — including Adesanya — agrees. But, according to UFC President, Dana White, there’s no chance his next fight will be a dud.
White spoke to reporters at the UFC Long Island post-fight press conference (watch it here), revealing he was away on vacation during International Fight Week. So, he wasn’t there in person to see Adesanya stink up the joint with a tentative performance against Jared Cannonier. Asked what he thought of the fight, White shrugged.
“He won,” White said. “I mean, I don’t know if it was the performance that he wanted to give or that he was selling leading into that fight. And you know, the other thing is, I don’t think his opponent was very aggressive, either. So, it takes two to make a great fight.”
There’s been some serious discussion about whether Adesanya will manage to hit that next level of stardom with these careful decision performances. Lately, all of “The Last Stylebender’s” opponents have been more interested in testing Izzy’s patience than his skills, holding back and trying to edge rounds.
That won’t happen when Adesanya faces kickboxing double champ, Alex Pereira, White suggested.
“It won’t happen in the next fight,” he said. “When you’re sitting here in my position, you can’t give too many guarantees, you know. I could say ‘Stylistically on paper this should be’ you know, or ‘We feel this is going to be.’ I f—king guarantee you, I absolutely f—king guarantee you that the next fight that Israel Adesanya fights will be absolutely bats—t nuts.”
Pereira is certainly the opponent to push toward Adesanya offensively, something we haven’t seen much of since he fought Paulo Costa in 2020. Pereira doesn’t just have the striking pedigree from his years kickboxing, he’s actually beaten Adesanya twice in that sport.
The second time they fought, Pereira even knocked Adesanya out.
So, there’s a lot to look forward to when it comes to Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira. Not only the history, but the stylistic match up. Pereira has shown since arriving in UFC that he’s always pushing forward. He’s got the confidence in his hands to go toe-to-toe with “The Last Stylebender.” And Adesanya has said he fights best when his back is against the wall.
All we need now is a date.