Former Glory two-division champion Pereira made the switch to becoming a professional mixed martial arts in Sep. 2021. He had a brief run in the sport previously. When he joined the UFC ranks in Nov. last year, fans were excited to see what he would do given his history with the reigning middleweight champion.
Fans will finally get to see Adesanya take on Pereira for the title at UFC 281 on Nov. 12 in the promotion’s grand return to Madison Square Garden in New York.
Ahead of his upcoming bout, Pereira sent a chilling warning to Adesanya, claiming the current champion would not go the full distance.
“I can tell you that it will be impossible for him not to engage, if he’s within my reach I will hurt him,” Pereira told Brazilian MMA Fighters (ht LowKick MMA). “And five rounds he won’t make it, five rounds? And I come close, you can see in the fights that I come close, I have a very good defense. He will want to attack or counterattack, but I can hurt him with my defense too.”
He also believes he will be able to discard one of Adesanya’s main tools.
“I saw in his fights that he kicks a lot and the guys don’t have the right time, the right time to block, you can hurt him with a block. The guy kicked, you blocked, maybe he won’t kick anymore.
“He’s got a big weapon and I can sort of eliminate it early on, I’ll be close to him, if he doesn’t hit me he’ll get beaten, and if he hits me he’ll get as tired as me.“
Pereira Got the Title Shot After Three Wins in the UFC
For his debut, Pereira was pitted against Andreas Michailidis for UFC 268. The community kept a close eye on the new prospect to see how he would fare in the new venture. Pereira scored an exciting technical knockout by a flying knee and punches.
His successful first showing was a sign of things to come. Although some people were quick to dismiss “Poatan” due to his lack of experience and grappling abilities, he has proven to be one of the best and leapfrogged the entire division to emerge as the top contender.
Coming off the biggest win of his pro career yet, Pereira will go into the bout confidently after knocking out formerly fourth-ranked contender at middleweight, Sean Strickland in July.
Adesanya Is Confident He Will Avenge His Losses
Adesanya called out Pereira in his post-fight octagon interview after beating Jared Cannonier in his latest title defense during the International Fight Week card of UFC 276. Their approaching encounter in the Big Apple would not mark the first time they have clashed.
“Stylebender” fought Pereira on two occasions, falling short both times in kickboxing. Pereira managed to come out on top the first time by decision, and the second time by a brutal left hook knockout that sent the Nigerian-Kiwi crashing down to the canvas.
Pereira will derive some conviction from his previous battles with Izzy whereas Adesanya is looking to avenge the two losses. The second outing was more competitive than the first, with Adesanya seemingly getting the better of Pereira until he delivered his signature touch of death.