This weekend’s main event at UFC 281 is a trilogy bout that has been greatly awaited for quite some time. Israel Adesanya will defend his UFC middleweight championship against Alex Pereira in New York’s Madison Square Garden. The two met and fought previously in GLORY kickboxing, with Adesanya losing both times.
Recently, Pereira was a guest on Guilherme Cruz and MMA Fighting’s Portuguese podcast, Trocaço Franca. When he made his appearance Poatan said, “The Last Stylebender” was coerced into this match.
“If he really wanted this, he would have done that as soon as I signed with the UFC,” he said.
“He’s being forced to fight, he’s the champion. It’s obvious that he cares about the belt.”
“He knows I’m not like the other guys he fought, otherwise the results would have been different in both times we fought,” Pereira added.
“He knows I’m different, and I’m proving that. I’m showing that in my three UFC fights. I’m being honest here. He doesn’t want this fight. Nobody wants. His team doesn’t want it. People close to him don’t want it because they know the risk. Is he good? Is he the champion? He’s there because he did what he did. Everybody knows my potential and sees my evolution.
“Right after I got in the UFC he said he would like to fight me maybe after four fights but ‘calm down’. He wanted [to fight me], but only after I did four fights. Why? He had in his mind I could lose to someone and he would say, ‘Is that the guy you want me to fight?’ I never believed that, but some people did. Others realize now he was bluffing. That’s not what he wants.
“Right after it was announced that my next fight would be for the belt against him, he and his whole team said it was a bit unfair that I was fighting for the belt because I just got here, that Adesanya did so many fights and I should do the same. Man, I’m just hearing that and taking it as something positive for me. That shows me he pretended he wanted [to fight me] and when I got here, his whole team was against it. That shows all of them, he and his team are mentally shook.”
Pereira also commented on Adesanya’s previous fights, which have been critiqued for a lack of aggression and killer instinct.
“There’s no way he fights the way he’s been fighting, he will have to be more aggressive,” Pereira said.
“I’m ready for that. We’re talking MMA, we’re not talking kickboxing. I think he comes more aggressive, and that’s perfect for me.”
“I posted something the other day and someone wrote, ‘Be more humble. The champion himself posted the video of him getting knocked out by you. F*ck, so tell him to post a video of him knocking me out. He doesn’t have that. I’ve knocked out the guy that is UFC champion today. It doesn’t matter if that was 30 years ago, it’s part of my history and people want to take that away from me. It doesn’t make sense.”
UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira will happen Sat, Nov 12, 10:00 PM