Israel Adesanya can’t wait to set the record straight against Alex Pereira and silence the critics at UFC 281, where both fighters will meet in the main event at Madison Square Garden.
Adesanya’s detractors are keen to point out that Pereira knocked him out under kickboxing rules but ‘The Last Stylebender’ promises a different outcome in the UFC where he will look to even the score and prove who the better overall striker is.
The reigning UFC middleweight champion and pound-for-pound No. 3 has faced criticism for going to a decision in his last three fights but promises a spectacular finish against ‘Poatan’ on Nov. 12.
“Have I ever shied away from a fight?” Adesanya said Friday on SportsCenter (h/t MMA Fighting). “I’ve always picked the guy no one wants to fight. The guy everyone runs away from, I run towards. So I run toward the fire, and this is no different. And again, after he beat me in Brazil, I never had any plans of trying to get revenge or anything like that, because I don’t hold onto things, I let go of things. But again, I’m telling you, the universe has presented this to me and it’s right there, it’s the perfect alley-oop, and I’m going to slam that b****.
“I’m really excited to have someone — finally — who after the first round or the second round, they realize they can’t do s*** and just want to be defensive, I’m excited to have someone who’s going to attack me, who’s going to actually try and finish me,” he added. “And this is the story of this fight, because he’s done it before in the past in kickboxing, so for me it’s like, is he going to get knocked out or am I going to get knocked out?”
“This guy is not going to be gun-shy. He’s going to come at me from bell to bell, and I’m going to do the same. And every time someone brings the fight, I raise the bar.”
“[The first two fights] are part of history, part of his story, because the judges gave him the nod in the first one, and the next one, he took me out in the third round,” Adesanya said in another part of the interview. “So that’s part of his story. But now it’s time for my story,
“For me, [the difference between then and now] is the gloves. When I said something about the pillow gloves, you can’t hide behind the [big gloves], you can’t guard the same way in kickboxing [as you can] in MMA. You have to be able to use your brain, move out the shot. And also my striking style is a lot different in MMA than kickboxing. That’s why I’ve had so much success as a ‘kickboxer’ in MMA, because I don’t strike like them.”