Israel Adesanya (23-2) suffered his first defeat at middleweight when he was TKO’d by Alex Pereira (7-1) in the fifth round of their title fight Saturday. The fight was eerily similar to his Nigerian cohort, Kamaru Usman, who lost his UFC welterweight title to Leon Edwards by KO after dominating most of the fight. The loss to Pereira halts a historic run for Adesanya and now makes it three straight losses to him across two sports.
Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira fought twice in kickboxing before they met in the Octagon Saturday night. In their last kickboxing match in 2017, Pereira KO’d Adesanya becoming the first and only man to do so. He repeated the feat Saturday against Adesanya in their MMA bout. But is an immediate rematch the best move for “The Last Stylebender”?
What Is The Best Option For Adesanya
There are two primary options for Israel Adesanya after the loss to Pereira. He could pursue a rematch with Alex Pereira or fight another opponent. Several possible opponents could challenge Adesanya in the near future. With Robert Whittaker set to take on Paulo Costa, two former opponents of Adesanya, the winner might be a logical choice to face him next.
Adesanya could also take some time off and let the division play out before returning to fight the champion. He has been an active champion, having made 5 title defenses in a short span and unsuccessfully challenging for the UFC Light-Heavyweight title. However, the best decision is likely an immediate rematch. Had Adesanya been beaten easily, a break might make more sense.
Since Adesanya was up on all scorecards going into the final round and even rocked Pereira at the end of the first round, it is tough to see him losing to Pereira again unless he gets caught with a good shot. He would likely have an advantage in a re-match since they know each other’s game and fighting style better than his opponent from their first fight. Given to two fighters’ history, they might even fight a few more times before their career is over.
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