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Israel Adesanya shuts down third UFC fight with Alex Pereira: ‘I’ve closed that chapter’

Adesanya is happy to leave UFC 287 with the Middleweight title back around his waist and a 1-3 record against Pereira. As far as he’s concerned, their story is “done.”

Israel Adesanya snapped a three-fight losing streak to Alex Pereira on Saturday night (April 8, 2023) at UFC 287 in Miami, Fla., knocking out his rival in the second round with two powerful right hands (watch the finish here).

Pereira holds two wins over Adesanya in kickboxing, and now the pair is 1-1 in UFC. So, the question on everyone’s mind is: are we going to see a third mixed martial arts (MMA) fight between the two fearsome strikers?

“I don’t keep score — I settle them, and now it’s settled,” Adesanya said at UFC 287’s post-fight press conference. “Look, I gave him a fast track to the belt, you know? I could’ve said, ‘Nah, who has he fought? He only fought one Top 5.’ But no. He did well. He fought some all right guys. He beat Strickland, and I was like, ‘Fine, There’s no one else.’

“Plus I was looking for that challenge,” Adesanya continued. “He’s the guy that beat me in kickboxing, I was looking for that challenge, that’s why I took that fight. The rematch, I got the immediate rematch because of what I’ve done in the game. I won the belt against Kelvin. I defended against Rob [Whittaker], [Yoel] Romero, [Paulo] Costa, [Marvin] Vettori, Rob again, [Jared] Cannonier. Seven. My other belt would have seven f—ing gems on it.

“So, I did the hard yards and I earned my f—ing rematch ... now he has to do the hard yard if he wants to do it,” Adesanya said. “But I don’t think he’s gonna. Go cause problems at 205 and good luck to everyone else because he’s a motherf-—er to deal with, I’ll tell you that.”

Given how competitive all the fights between Adesanya and Pereira have been, a final MMA fight seems like a no-brainer. But, “The Last Stylebender” was pretty firm in his position.

“It’s done,” he repeated. “He’s had his story, now it’s my story. And I’ve closed that chapter and again, I move on.”

The problem now is that Adesanya has cleaned out the 185-pound division. As he mentioned, he holds wins over Pereira, Whittaker, Costa, Vettori and Cannonier. That’s everyone in the Top 5 of the 185-pound rankings. No. 6-ranked Dricus Du Plessis hasn’t beaten anyone in the Top 5, and Khamzat Chimaev is stuck on the sidelines unable to secure any matches at Middleweight.

Don’t ask Izzy to figure out the matchmaking boondoggle, though.

“I’m not thinking of anything like that,” Adesanya said when asked about what’s next. “That’s the last question. I’ve been a good boy, and now it’s time to be a bad boy in Miami.”

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 287: “Pereira vs. Adesanya 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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