In a recent statement at UFC 287 media day, middleweight champion Alex Pereira indicated his disinterest in fighting Khamzat Chimaev for his next bout, as his first title defense is already set against Israel Adesanya at UFC 28.
“This week, I’m obviously focused on Israel, but talk about [Robert] Whittaker and Paulo Costa. I know they want to fight me. They were never disrespectful. They always kept their composure, but when you talk about Chimaev, he’s the kind of guy that seems to be a little lost, talks too much. Right after my last fight, he said that he wanted to fight me at this weight class. He knows it was right after the fight, everybody’s injured. I could not make that weight so I challenged him to fight at 205 pounds, [he] ran. To be honest, if it’s Whittaker or Paulo Costa, if the organization wants to put us to fight, it’s my job to fight as the UFC champion, but I don’t even want to talk about Chimaev.”
Since not making weight at UFC 279 more than six months ago, Khamzat Chimaev hasn’t competed. Since his last cage appearance, “Borz” has criticised a number of well-known competitors in the welterweight and middleweight weight classes.
Israel Adesanya explains why he is still confident in his first championship defence against Alex Pereira.
With victories over him in kickboxing twice and mixed martial arts once, Alex Pereira seems to have Israel Adesanya’s number. Prior to UFC 287, the former middleweight champion disclosed on DC & RC that his confidence has not been impacted by the defeats, saying:
“F**k all the bulls**t. He and I know, f**k the fans, the reporters, all that. He and I know exactly what I can do to him. I know what he can do to me. Each time I’ve fought him, I’m always winning until I’m not. If it was like say he just beat my ass from f**king bell to bell then f**k it… It’s not been the case. I’m always beating him, I’m always dominating him until he finds that way to win.”
Adesanya stated that he is up for the task and will succeed against his foe. For the first fight in nearly four years, “The Last Stylebender” will face a middleweight opponent in the octagon.
In three fights, two of which involved kickboxing, Israel Adesanya has failed to beat Alex Pereira. For the first fight in almost four years, “The Last Stylebender” will challenge the middleweight champion at UFC 287.
Matt Brown thinks that Israel Adesanya’s rematch at UFC 287 will serve as The Last Stylebender’s final battle.
At UFC 287), Israel Adesanya will try to ultimately defeat Alex Pereira. Welterweight Matt Brown asserted on his podcast, The Fighters vs. The Writer, that this battle will go down in history as “The Last Stylebender’s last fight,” saying:
“This is his legacy here. He has to beat Alex Pereira for his legacy. It’s that important. This is what changes his entire legacy all together. This single fight, and this is probably his last chance at it. If Pereira beats him, maybe he can work his way back to the top but he’s working his way back to a third fight against a guy that beat him twice. I feel like that’s a tough call for the promoters to put together.”
All three of Adesanya’s defeats to Pereira have been fiercely contested. The former middleweight king of mixed martial arts had a three to one advantage on all three judges’ scorecards before his opponent won via TKO in the fifth round of their lone encounter.