UFC champion Israel Adesanya to fight Alex Pereira in bid to avenge kickboxing KO defeat

·1-min read
UFC champion Israel Adesanya to fight Alex Pereira in bid to avenge kickboxing KO defeat

Israel Adesanya will defend his middleweight title against Alex Pereira at UFC 281 in November, as the champion looks to avenge two defeats by the Brazilian from the pair’s kickboxing days.

Adesanya is unbeaten at middleweight in mixed martial arts, his sole loss having been an unsuccessful light heavyweight title shot in 2021, although Pereira knocked out and outpointed the “Last Stylebender” across two bouts during the rivals’ time as professional kickboxers.

Pereira debuted in the UFC in November and has gone 3-0 in the promotion, with impressive knockout wins in his first and third fights. Most recently the 35-year-old knocked out middleweight contender Sean Strickland in the first round.

After that contest in July, which took place on the undercard of Adesanya’s decision win against Jared Cannonier, Pereira called out Adesanya. The Nigerian-born New Zealander responded in kind, and a clash between the pair is now official for UFC 281 on 12 November.

The fight is expected to headline UFC 281, which takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Israel Adesanya after outpointing Jared Cannonier to retain his title (John Locher/PA) (AP)
Israel Adesanya after outpointing Jared Cannonier to retain his title (John Locher/PA) (AP)

Adesanya, 33, has a professional MMA record of 23-1, while Pereira’s stands at 6-1.

Pereira first competed in pro MMA in 2015, losing his first fight before winning back-to-back bouts in 2016. The Brazilian then returned to the sport in 2020, recording another victory 12 months before his UFC debut.