Speculation of a renewed clash between longtime opponents Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira is rife. Although Pereira’s impending move to the light heavyweight division to compete with Jan Blachowicz contrasts with Adesanya’s wait for his next middleweight title adversary, the history between these two might see them together in the octagon once more.
Adesanya claimed his first victory in their four-battle series against Pereira during UFC 287 in April, laying to rest the ghost of his title fight loss at UFC 281 and his prior two kickboxing defeats to Pereira. Despite both fighters seeming ready to progress beyond their rivalry, Adesanya indicated he would welcome a third MMA bout with Pereira if he becomes a champion in his new weight class.
In a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Adesanya stated, “If he wins the belt at 205, I’ll do it again. If not, I think he’s done with it, I’m done with it, everyone else wants to see it, but we’ve moved on. It’s life.”
Pereira, a former two-division champion in Glory Kickboxing, is no stranger to dominating two weight classes. He is scheduled to fight Blachowicz, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, in the co-main event of UFC 291 on July 29. Adesanya, who once defended his title against Blachowicz, recently offered Pereira some tips on handling the seasoned fighter.
Adesanya has been circumspect about committing to a fresh bout with Pereira, partly due to the satisfaction he derived from knocking Pereira out in their second MMA match. Pereira’s knockout victories over Adesanya in both kickboxing and UFC had previously cast a pall over his legacy.
The future of Pereira at 205 pounds, and his route to a title shot, is unclear. A win over Blachowicz could fast-track him to a title bout against reigning champion Jamahal Hill. However, he may face competition from former champion Jiri Prochazka if he returns from injury soon.
While the circumstances remain fluid, Adesanya refrains from making any definitive assertions about a potential rematch with Pereira. “205, I’ve been there, it’s hard. It’s not an easy task. If he wins the 205 belt though… then they’re going to have a magic, crazy, epic fight at 205 with me and him. And that will be us for the fifth time. Isn’t that wild?” Adesanya mused.
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