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Israel Adesanya Not Interested in Alex Pereira Trilogy

Alex Pereira Israel Adesanya UFC
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is not interested in a trilogy bout against long-time rival Alex Pereira. (Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports)

Israel Adesanya Not Interested in Alex Pereira Trilogy

Israel Adesanya regained the UFC middleweight at UFC 287 after landing a historic knockout against heated rival Alex Pereira. The pair have now fought twice in MMA and each fighter has picked up a victory. Despite their history, Adesanya feels he has settled the score and does not see the need for a trilogy fight.

“I don’t keep score. I settle them. Now it’s settled,” Adesanya said at the postfight press conference. “Look, I gave (Pereira) a fast track to the belt. I could’ve said, ‘Nah, f–k no. Who has he fought? He fought one top-five (opponent). Nah. But he did well. Fought some alright guys then beat f—–g (Sean) Strickland. And I was like, ‘OK, fine, there’s no one else.'”

Quote via The Score

Adesanya also explained why he got an immediate rematch against Pereira and why Pereira need to earn another shot at the middleweight title.

“I got the immediate rematch because of what I’ve done in this game,” he continued. “I won the belt against Kelvin (Gastelum), I defended against Rob (Whittaker), (Yoel) Romero, (Paulo) Costa, (Marvin) Vettori, Rob again, (Jared) Cannonier. That’s seven. My other belt, we have seven f—–g gems on it. I did the hard yards, and I earned my f—–g rematch. Now he’s got to do the hard yards if he wants to do that.”

Quote via The Score

Adesanya added that Pereira should jump up a division and enter the light heavyweight division rather than continuing to fight at middleweight.

“Go cause problems at 205 (pounds),” Adesanya said. “And f–k, good luck to everybody else, because he’s a motherf—-r to deal with. I’ll tell you that.”

Quote via The Score

A move to light heavyweight makes a ton of sense for Pereira. First and foremost, Pereira has been cutting massive amounts of weight to make middleweight. The eye test alone tells you that Pereira is a light heavyweight and not a middleweight. Not to mention, the only reason he entered MMA was to fight Adesanya. That can not happen if the pair are not in the same division.

The move to light heavyweight makes sense from the promotional aspect as well. A matchup between Pereira and light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill is incredibly easy to promote. Since Pereira trains with Glover Teixeira, the UFC could run hundreds of promotional videos about how Pereira is looking to avenge Teixeira’s loss to Hill.

As far as skills go, Pereira matches up far better against primary strikers like Hill and Jiri Prochazka in comparison to the wrestlers of the middleweight division.

With or without Pereira, the UFC middleweight division does not have any clear challengers. That is mostly due to the fact that Adesanya has beaten most of them. The highest-ranked fighter that Adesanya has not beaten is Dricus Du Plessis who is currently ranked No. 6. Despite being on a solid run, Du Plessis is probably still a fight away from the title. You could argue that Khamzat Chimaev deserves a title opportunity, but he does not have a ranked middleweight win. The lack of a clear contender could allow Pereira to work his name back into title discussions.

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