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Israel Adesanya fully focused on just winning Alex Pereira rematch: ‘F—k the belt - I have to beat this guy’

UFC 281: Adesanya v Pereira Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Israel Adesanya is determined to get the job done in combat sports fight No. 4 against Alex Pereira.

UFC 281 in Nov. 2022 was Adesanya’s last night as UFC Middleweight champion, falling short via a fifth-round technical knockout against Brazil’s Pereira (watch highlights). It was Adesanya’s first defeat in the 185-pound weight class as a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, but his third overall against Pereira, including kickboxing contests.

On April 8, 2023, in Miami, Fla., as UFC 287’s pay-per-view(PPV) main event, they run it back once more.

“I’ve never not been motivated to fight this guy, but for this one I’ve put the pressure on myself,” Adesanya said in a UFC 284 fight night scrum (h/t MMA Fighting). “Like, f—k the belt, f—k everything else. I have to beat this guy, so that’s my motivation, just beating him. Like I said, they can say whatever they want, it’s 1-0 or 3-0, I don’t keep score, I settle them and I just need one and I’m going to get it done.”

Adesanya first lost to Pereira via a 2016 unanimous decision before a brutal third-round knockout one year later. Several spectators felt the first encounter’s decision was unjust, arguing Adesanya should have won, whereas he was arguably winning up until the knockout in the rematch, too. In their first MMA fight, that was also the case.

“Just keep the same energy because I’m always beating him until I’m not,” Adesanya said when asked about potential adjustments. “So, I’m just going to make sure I keep beating him the whole way through.

“I go in there and I don’t overthink,” he concluded. “I’m not gun shy. I go in there and I trade with people, especially with him as well, so expect me to do what I do. Like I said, I have to talk because you guys want me to talk, but say less and I’ll do more. I promise you I’ll do more in this fight.”

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 287 fight card and rumors click here.

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