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Midnight Mania! Alex Pereira shuts down wrestling critics — I took down Izzy!

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

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UFC Middleweight champion Alex Pereira is in a strange position.

Though he’s currently scheduled to face Israel Adesanya for a second time in MMA and fourth time overall, he’s repeatedly proven himself the better man. However, a 3-0 record over “Stylebender,” one which includes two knockout wins, does not necessarily make him the better UFC champion. It does not mean that Pereira could defeat all the men Adesanya defeated or clear out the Middleweight division in similar fashion.

That much has yet to be proven, and a lot of Middleweights smell opportunity in the current champion. Everyone from Bellator’s Johnny Eblen to Khamzat Chimaev would love an “easy fight” against the former Glory Kickboxing champion.

Pereira is not deaf to this talk. In response, “Poatan” is taking a stand against those who would label him a grappling rookie. The Brazilian holds a jiu-jitsu brown belt, and he also cites his takedown against “Stylebender” as evidence that he’s more than just a kickboxer.

“The people who talk about that are the people that never grappled (me), that trained with (me),” Pereira told ESPN though an interpreter (via MMAJunkie). “All the guys that come in and roll with (me), grapple, do some MMA, they leave very surprised and say, ‘Man, I didn’t know he could grapple like that.’ But (I’m) not trying to prove nothing to nobody. (I’m) just doing (my) thing, but stay tuned for the future.”

He continued, “People say that (I) cannot grapple, but almost nobody could be able to put Israel down with a takedown. (I) took him down, so what’s going on?”

To Pereira’s credit, Adesanya’s takedown defense rate stands at a strong 77%. More experienced grapplers like Marvin Vettori and Yoel Romero failed to find real success dragging Adesanya to the canvas, so his takedown and bit of control is a feather in his cap.

It remains to be seen if wrestling is a factor in their rematch, which is scheduled for UFC 287 on April 8.


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Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

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