In a spectacular win over his Brazilian archnemesis, Israel Adesanya has reminded everyone why he belongs at the top. The UFC 287 main event witnessed Alex ‘Poatan‘ Pereira and Izzy go at it for the 2nd time in the Octagon, and a 4th time in the combat sports realm. The highlight-worthy finish has seemingly overshadowed the fact that Adesanya is in fact 1-3 against Pereira.
During the entire fight week, Israel appeared eager to remind the critics of his in-cage greatness. The 33-year-old showed up with a dog collar wrapped around his neck at the pre-fight presser, insinuating an inner dog that’s been waiting to be unleashed. He didn’t stop after knocking out Pereira. After the KO, the Nigerian-born Kiwi performed Alex’s patented bow and arrow ritual over the latter’s unconscious body.
— UFC (@ufc) April 9, 2023
While fans wouldn’t mind a third Octagon outing between the two, ‘The Last Stylebender‘ has already turned down the possibility of that one. During the post-fight presser, Izzy shared, “It’s done, it’s done. I don’t keep scores, I settle them so it’s done. He’s had his story, now it’s my story. I’ve closed that chapter and again, I move on.”
The duo even shared a heartfelt moment backstage when they bumped into each other unexpectedly. Israel even expressed a keen interest in coming over to Brazil to meet Pereira and the fans. For now, the two have seemingly put their history behind them.
Israel Adesanya’s next fight after knockout win over Alex Pereira
Israel Adesanya has been training with coach Eugene Bareman for a long time. The 43-year-old has cornered Izzy in some of his biggest fights, including in his unsuccessful attempt to become a double champ at UFC 259. Recently, Bareman appeared on the Submission Radio podcast to speak about his pupil’s recent achievements and more.
When asked if Adesanya would like to face Jamahal Hill next for the lightweight title, Eugene said, “At light heavyweight, let’s do it, let’s do it. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Every fighter that you fight, we have flaws. And that’s up to the opponent and the team to take advantage of.”
“Jamahal Hill, I haven’t seen him fight, I don’t think. But, I don’t watch the fights, I [only] watch my guys fight generally. I don’t watch UFC fights,” added Bareman.
He continued, “He’s a very tough challenge. If you’re a world champion, you’re the best in the business. I’m sure he’s a very tough fight. I’ve seen him at the after-party, I’m sure he’s a nice fellow. But it’s not about that, it’s about the challenges. Let’s do it, boys. Can you get it done?”
In November 2022, lightweight champion at the time, Jiri Prochazka vacated the UFC gold due to a shoulder injury. This led to a bout between Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill for the vacated strap. Hill battered Glover to become the new lightweight champion via decision. If Adesanya does face Hill next, this will be the former’s second attempt at the light heavyweight gold.
— UFC (@ufc) January 22, 2023
Speaking about Adesanya’s rivalry with Alex, Bareman stated that the two won’t meet each other anytime soon. “I mean they might, but they’re not gonna meet straight away,” he added.
Eugene said that Pereira had fought “three nobodies” compared to the killer’s row Israel went through to get to the title. The 43-year-old coach also mentioned that business-wise it’s a story that the UFC needed to promote.