The rumors and fan theories regarding the next middleweight title fight were all over the place recently. Reigning champ Alex Pereira has teased a potential matchup against Robert Whittaker and later sized up Light-heavyweight champ Jamahal Hill.
After the announcement of Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya for UFC 287, fans have finally received some clarity.
Pereira fought under the Middleweight and Light-heavyweight divisions for Glory Kickboxing in his early career. Israel was also a kickboxer before his move to the UFC. Both these prodigies stepped up against each other on two occasions and Izzy lost both times.
The third bout was expected to go differently by many as the rules were different.
‘The Last Stylebender’ had been going strong as a champion for a few years at that point while Pereira only had 3 fights in the UFC. The Nigerian held up quite nicely against his long-time rival compared to their first two outings.
But just as Adesanya was about to potentially win via decision, Alex went full berserk with punches and dethroned the long-time middleweight king.
Alex talked about the fourth fight in a recent interview, “What is he going to do? Is he going to change his strength? ‘Next time, (he should) use (more) force in the clinch… Next time, he said when you were landing on the ground, he wasn’t feeling it, so now hit him harder so he can feel it.’ So does that mean he wants to do that now and in the first fight he didn’t? He couldn’t do that. I can implement a game plan where he can’t do it once again.”
How can Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya affect the division?
‘Paotan’ can secure his position as a proper champion with this fourth win. This will probably grant him more freedom in terms of contracts and picking new opponents. On the other hand, another loss can come as devastating for Israel. He will probably be forced to either retire or move to a new weight class as a 5th bout seems ridiculous and boring.
UFC 287 is currently scheduled for, April 8, 2023.