Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen is adamant that Israel Adesanya will have the advantage in his fight with Alex Pereira, ahead of their middleweight title bout at UFC 281 on November 12th.
Adesanya and Pereira competed against each other on two occasions in kickboxing, with the Brazilian coming out victorious both times. In their second encounter, Pereira knocked “Stylebender” out with a vicious left hook. This is Adesanya’s only knockout loss in his professional combat sports career.
In spite of this, Eblen still expects Adesanya to win, citing his superior MMA pedigree and his strong performances in the two kickboxing bouts against “Poatan”.
“I could see Adesanya point-fighting his way through. Honestly, if you watched the kickboxing matches, he was winning but then he got knocked,” Eblen told TheAllStar.
“I think the odds are in Izzy’s favor. He has a lot more experience in MMA, he understands the game more. He might take him down. He’s a crafty son of a ****, he’s good.”
Eblen also feels that the stylistic match-up against Pereira favors Adesanya. Adesanya’s only loss in MMA was when he challenged Jan Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight title in March 2021.
In that bout, Blachowicz was able to take Adesanya down and control him for the majority of the final two rounds. Eblen believes that Pereira’s lack of wrestling threat will hinder his chances of securing the victory.
“Pereira is a really good striker but you need someone who can strike and wrestle to beat Izzy. Someone like a Jan Blachowicz. Someone that can strike with him but then can also out-wrestle him,” Eblen said. “That’s actually his kryptonite. This [Pereira] is probably better for him. A high-level striker against another high-level striker. I think Adesanya is going to win.”
Adesanya has shown excellent defensive wrestling in the UFC, which is illustrated by his 78% takedown defense average. Eblen gave Adesanya credit for his ability to keep fights on the feet.
“He’s an athletic dude. He puts in the work to work on his takedown defense and his get-ups.”
Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya is a 33-year-old male fighter from Nigeria with 23 pro wins and 1 loss. Adesanya is scheduled to fight Alex Pereira at UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira on Saturday, November 12, 2022.
Israel Adesanya’s recent form coming into this matchup
Israel Adesanya has gone 4-1 in the last 5 professional MMA fights.
- Win vs Jared Cannonier • Decision R5 5:00 • 2022-07-02
- Win vs Robert Whittaker • Decision R5 5:00 • 2022-02-12
- Win vs Marvin Vettori • Decision R5 5:00 • 2021-06-12
- Loss vs Jan Błachowicz • Decision R5 5:00 • 2021-03-06
- Win vs Paulo Costa • KO/TKO R2 3:59 • 2020-09-26
Israel Adesanya’s next opponent: Alex “Poatan” Pereira
Alex “Poatan” Pereira’s recent form coming into this matchup
Alex “Poatan” Pereira is a 35-year-old male fighter from Brazil with 6 pro wins and 1 loss. Pereira is scheduled to fight Israel Adesanya at UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira on Saturday, November 12, 2022.
Alex Pereira has gone 5-0 in the last 5 professional MMA fights.
- Win vs Sean Strickland • KO/TKO R1 2:36 • 2022-07-02
- Win vs Bruno Silva • Decision R3 5:00 • 2022-03-12
- Win vs Andreas Michailidis • KO/TKO R2 0:18 • 2021-11-06
- Win vs Thomas Powell • KO/TKO R1 4:04 • 2020-11-20
- Win vs Marcus Vinicius • KO/TKO R2 4:28 • 2016-05-21
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