Israel Adesanya isn’t leaving any stone unturned ahead of his big UFC 287 rematch with Alex Pereira next weekend (Sat., April 8, 2023).
There has been one reoccurring theme between Adesanya and Pereira in all of their combat sports collisions, and unfortunately for “The Last Stylebender,” that theme is Pereira winning. The pair fought twice in kickboxing before their recent — and first — encounter in mixed martial arts (MMA) this past Nov. 2022. Gaining a solid lead through the first four and a half rounds of their UFC 281 clash, Adesanya ultimately succumbed to a wild comeback effort from “Poatan” via technical knockout (watch highlights).
UFC 287 marks chapter four of the Pereira vs. Adesanya rivalry in totality, and Adesanya feels it’s his final opportunity to reclaim the Middleweight championship.
“I’m hunting, and I mean that in every sense of the word,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel (h/t MMA Junkie). “The mindset is different, definitely. Even [coach] Eugene [Bareman] and I are on the same page. The mindset is definitely different.
“I like it because it puts it all on me, and it’s kind of poetic in a way,” he concluded. “One life: Roll the dice. This is my last shot, and I’m going to give it all I’ve got in every sense of the word.”
The Pereira loss in Nov. 2022 was only the second of Adesanya’s impressive 25-fight career (his first at Middleweight). For Brazil’s Pereira, he blazed his way to the top of the division in no time at all, winning his first three UFC bouts in less than one year to earn his title shot. Outside of his Oct. 2015 debut against Quemuel Otton, the reigning champion has been flawless in his eight-fight career thus far.