Israel Adesanya believes Sean Strickland could have beaten Alex Pereira if only he had listened to his advice before the fight.
Adesanya warned Strickland at the UFC 276 pre-fight press conference that he would get knocked out if he didn’t give Pereira his full attention ahead of the fight.
Lo and behold, Pereira KO’d Strickland in the first round after landing a devastating left hook that sent ‘Tarzan’ crashing to the canvas.
Adesanya feels Strickland could have avoided the knockout if only he had stopped behaving like a classroom clown at the press conference and fought with his IQ instead of his ego.
“He (Sean Strickland) should’ve listened to me,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel (h/t MMA Junkie). “He should’ve listened to me when I told him, ‘Just focus on the guy you have in front of you, not me.’ He was trying to be like that idiot in the back of the class. I hated having to address that idiot. Like, I’m trying to f*cking work and the guy I’m focused on is next to me or down the line and this idiot, this dumbass in the back of the class just disrupting.”
“I was like, ‘Yo, it’s not me you need to worry about. Focus on this guy [Pereira]. He thought he had the opportunity, and I’m like, ‘OK, bet,’ If he actually did what he had to do, me and him would be fighting next. Don’t fight with your ego, he fought with his ego. He said, ‘I thought I was doing pretty well.’ You’re not doing pretty well. … I’ve seen this before, I’ve done this before. You can see it coming. … I was like, ‘change up,’ but Pereira didn’t need a change-up. He just threw a left hook, really, really simple. Boom dropped him, right hand, finished him.”
Following the loss, Strickland dropped to #7 in the UFC middleweight rankings. He was formerly ranked in the top five, per the UFC’s official rankings.
Adesanya went on to defeat Jared Cannonier in the UFC 276 main event to retain his middleweight title. ‘The Last Stylebender’ won the fight via unanimous decision.