by Dane McGuire
Now former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya left the octagon at UFC 281 with his head held high Saturday night. ‘Stylebender’ fell to Alex Pereira in a come-from-behind TKO win for the Brazilian.
This marks the first time the former champion has been finished outside of his time in kickboxing, also against Pereira.
Immediately after the bout Adesanya posted the following tweets.
“What a life! . And still standing 10 toes deep in my light. Gratitude will always be my attitude, through the good, bad, ugly and the beautiful moments in this wild and crazy life. So thank you for the energy. Bless you xo”
“I LOVE THIS GAME!!!
Attacking Titans like this one thrills me!!
Another chapter to “Poatan” 🗿. You won the battle yet again, but the war wages on! The hunter now becomes the hunted, the game’s not over 👾 #Law15 #insetcoin #playagain #nowondertheymadesomanysawmovies”
Both fighters have expressed interest in a rematch as UFC President Dana White did at the post-fight press conference.
“(Adesanya) wanted this fight,” White told the media at the presser. “A lot of people talk publicly and it’s a whole different story behind the scenes. That guy is an absolute stud. He always wants to stay active.
“In a fight that most guys would stall, ‘Give me more time. Give me this, that,’ he dove right into this fight. His only loss was when he tried to move up in weight to 205. You’ve got to respect him as champ and what he’s done. … I wouldn’t rule (an immediate rematch) out.”
The rematch would be immediate. Many, including White believed Adesanya was ahead 3-1 heading into the final round. For Pereira, it all came down to advice from Glover Teixeira in his corner.
“A lot of emotions went through my head,” Pereira said through an interpreter at the presser. “So many years of hard work in that cage and here I am, champion of the world.”
“Coming into this fight, I knew it was going to be a very hard fight,” Pereira said. “I tried to pace myself. But going into the last round, my corners and Glover kept it real with me. They looked in my eyes, and I said, ‘Do I have to knock him out?’ And Glover said, ‘You do have to knock him out.’ Then I said, ‘OK, let’s do it.”