‘F*ck the belt’ Israel Adesanya’s first priority is to beat Alex Pereira at UFC 281

The reigning middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will defend his 185-pound championship against top contender Alex Pereira in the main event of UFC 281 on Nov. 12 in New York City, a five-round fight that will provide “The Last Stylebender” a chance to revenge his previous losses to “Poatan” on the kickboxing circuit.

Adesanya improved to 12-0 in the middleweight category (23-1 overall) after defeating Jared Cannonier at UFC 276. He has now beaten four of the current Top 5 contenders. His sole MMA loss came against Jan Blachowicz in the light heavyweight division.

Pereira, 6-1, continued his winning streaks in “Sin City” last July, hammering Sean Strickland in the opening frame with a powerful left hook.

The fight at Madison Square Garden holds greater significance for Israel Adesanya than the championship. The champion revealed on his YouTube channel that getting the illusive victory over Alex Pereira at UFC 281 is all that matters.

“Beating him, that’s what matters,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “Like, the belt? F*ck the belt. Just beating him, a killer like him, that’s what matters.”

“We’ve dusted that off, we’ve cut it off, and I can see what I did wrong,” Adesanya added, speaking of his previous KO loss to Pereira in 2017. “So, it’s not gonna be like last time. This is a different fighter you’re facing, and now I’ve become another fighter. I’ve re-birthed myself. I’ve re-birthed it, and I just feel like I want to have fun. That’s the goal. But this fight, I’m gonna have fun. That’s the ultimate goal. And when I have fun, I’m the best in the world.”

Pereira, for his part, appears determined to keep Adesanya close so that he can more easily stop the champion’s kicking attempt and respond with powerful hooks. He believes that the “Last Stylebender” is headed for yet another KO defeat. When the fight took place in August, Pereira predicted that “He won’t make it five rounds.”

UFC 281 takes place on November 12th at Madison Square Garden in New York, alongside the middleweight main event.


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