Eugene Bareman, the head coach of UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, has strong feelings regarding Alex Pereira‘s stunning rise to title contender status.
Bareman is not pleased with a 6-1 fighter being given a title chance. On Saturday night, Adesanya will defend his title against Alex Pereira at UFC 281.
Adesanya has a history with his opponent, having competed against him twice in kickboxing. Aside from this, he(Adesanya) and his team believe that Pereira’s shared history is the only reason he is getting this title shot with only three UFC fights under his belt.
In the main event of UFC 281, Pereira will face Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title. As has been widely documented, Pereira has two kickboxing victories over Adesanya, including a brutal knockout win in their second meeting prior to both fighters signing with the UFC, which has played an essential role in the buildup to the fight that will take center stage at Madison Square Garden.
Eugene Bareman is the New Zealand-based head coach of City Kickboxing. He has long served as Adesanya’s and many other top-level boxers’ coach. He understands how to run a gym and motivate his guys. He has been preparing Adesanya for this confrontation with Pereira, but that does not imply he understands why Pereira is in this situation in the first place.
“There’s no way he gets a title shot if there wasn’t history there; it’s ridiculous,” Bareman said during an interview. “It’s just ridiculous that someone would get a title shot [so quickly]. There’s history with Israel, and the story and the UFC, hate it or love it, Dana has to promote fights. That’s one thing they do really well. They picked up this history, picked up this would be a great fight that’s going to bring a lot of eyes, and strategically pushed Alex so he could fight for the title. We’ll have to see on Saturday if he’s being rushed too early and if they should’ve been more patient.”
Until November of last year, Pereira had won three UFC fights. He has only six MMA wins in his professional career, compared to Adesanya’s 23. The two’s history has undoubtedly played a role in selling the bout and generating fan interest. Only time will tell if Pereira is up to the job of defeating Adesanya on Saturday.