Alex Pereira might have Israel Adesanya’s number, but that doesn’t mean the two won’t meet again.
Pereira became the new UFC middleweight champion after defeating ex-kickboxing rival Adesanya via standing TKO in the fifth and final round of their blockbuster title fight last night at UFC 281 inside Madison Square Garden in New York.
‘Poatan’ is 3-0 over Adesanya overall with two previous victories in kickboxing including a vicious knockout of ‘The Last Stylebender’ at Glory Heroes of 7 in 2017.
UFC president Dana White hinted that a fourth fight could be on the cards if defeated champ Adesanya requests an immediate rematch, crediting the Nigerian-born star for his willingness to fight game opponents on short notice.
“(Adesanya) wanted this fight,” White told reporters at the UFC 281 post-fight press conference (h/t MMA Junkie). “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.”
Adesanya teased a rematch with Pereira after congratulating the Brazilian on winning the title. He told reporters after the fight: “It’s another great story for him, but it’s not over. This is still war.”