What is going to be the deciding factor in a potential fight between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira? The gloves, says Robert Whittaker.
Adesanya and Pereira have fought twice in kickboxing, with ‘Poatan’ defeating ‘The Last Stylebender’ once by decision in 2016 and once by knockout in 2017. Now several years removed from those outings, the duo are on a collision course to fight again following their respective wins over Jared Cannonier and Sean Strickland at UFC 276.
This time, Adesanya vs. Pereira is in mixed martial arts and the former UFC middleweight champion sees that as a much more different fight given the decrease in the size of gloves.
“Mate, that’s an interesting fight because I guess a big thing’s gonna be how Alex takes shots, how he handles the shots from Adesanya with the smaller gloves,” said Whittaker on Submission Radio. “Because it’s not like Adesanya had an impossibly hard time hitting Alex in their kickboxing fight.
“So we’ll see how he takes the shots,” continued Whittaker. “But like I said, Adesanya’s got some of the best defensive striking in the game. I’m looking forward to the fight actually. It’s punch and kick each other to high heavens, so that’ll be fun.”
Despite being 0-2 against Pereira, Adesanya found success in those fights, but the now-viral knockout often overshadows it. The reigning UFC middleweight champion implored fans to watch those performances to get an understanding of how a fight with the No. 6 ranked contender would go now, especially in this sport.
And when they do share the Octagon, Adesanya has a different outcome in mind.
“This TikTok generation has 15-second memory so they forget,” said Adesanya during a UFC press conference in June. “All they see is the knockout, but they didn’t watch the first fight or even watch the second fight before the finish. This is not kickboxing, this is mixed martial arts. And these ain’t big pillow gloves, these are four-ounce deadly weapons and I can’t wait to drive that through his face after I go through Jared Cannonier.”
Adesanya recently confirmed his next defense is indeed against Pereira but did not give the soon-to-be-announced date for the fight.