Kickboxing star Alex Pereira “doesn’t worry” about Israel Adesanya ahead of UFC 268 debut, says champion should be

Former GLORY Two-Division Champion Alex Pereira first enters the UFC Octagon this Saturday to take on Andreas Michailidis in New York City, but most of the pre-fight narrative will focus on the fact that he had two victories in kickboxing against the current UFC middleweight champion. Israel Adesanya.

“Poatan” knows this, but pays no attention to it.

“I’m not worried, man. He’s the one who should be worried, right? Pereira told MMA Fighting. “He knows my potential and knows that I will [to the top]. When I go somewhere, I do it to be the best, just like in kickboxing. I’ll do whatever I can to make it happen, and maybe he won’t even be there when I do – [if that’s the case] what do I want with Adesanya? Nothing. Is he the champion? Cool, he’s the one I want. He is no longer the champion? I want the one that is.

Pereira holds a record of 3-1 in MMA and 33-7 in kickboxing, with a total of 24 knockouts in both sports. He believes Adesanya will continue to rule the 185-pound division “the way things are now,” and that could put “Poatan” on a fast track to gold, though he’s not particularly hurry.

“Look at Glover,” Pereira said, pointing to his teammate Glover Teixeira who just won the UFC light heavyweight title at 42. “He’s got a lot more experience and is well balanced and I still have a lot to learn, of course, but he is champion at 42 and beats young people. I’m 34, but I still have a lot of wood. to burn.

Pereira eliminated Adesanya in 2017, a year after winning a decision on “The Last Stylebender” in China, and he doesn’t see many differences in Adesanya’s style between the kickboxing ring and the world of MMA. The difference, said Pereira, “is the way his opponents behave” against him. Moreover, the Brazilian is not surprised that the champion was silenced on the radio when he joined the company.

“He won’t speak, will he?” He knows my potential, ”Pereira said. “He always [post videos] with his pickaxes and stuff like that but is he going to talk about me? No way, he won’t. I could be wrong, but he won’t speak because he knows my potential. If he wants to talk about me he has to say something positive because I beat the guy twice, so how is he going to say bullshit about me? What if I go out on Saturday and show something else, what does that make it? It’s a bit confusing for him.

If they ever meet in an octagon, Pereira doesn’t expect Adesanya to shoot for strikeouts despite going 0-2 against the Brazilian in kickboxing.

“He can’t bring me down,” Pereira said. “He adapted a game to fight MMA guys, but I don’t think he would try [takedowns] with me. And the evolution I have in the grappling zone, when I get there, I’ll be on fire, man. He won’t even think about it. Maybe he’s thinking, “Dude, smaller gloves, I’m going to keep hurting him here since I’m not a strong guy.” I’m fast, so I’ll use it. These little gloves are dangerous, but I have to be smart because he will use the same [gloves]. “

Pereira enters UFC years after GLORY halted Brazilian negotiations to be part of the promotion Competing series. In retrospect, he thinks the path he ultimately took was the best because “I wasn’t ready” at the time, Pereira said.

“You can win and you can lose, of course, and I’ve had losses in other sports and even in MMA,” Pereira said, “so maybe that would be my chance. [and I’d lose]. And now I’m ready. I trained for this, and I enter [the UFC] through the front door.

Training with an experienced veteran like Teixeira for a full year made Pereira more than ready for his UFC debut, he said.

“When I see him defeat these guys with ease, I’m like, ‘Damn he’s great,’ and that gives me more confidence,” Pereira said. “I see a lot of forwards making the transition to MMA and sometimes they don’t do well because they don’t train a lot on the strikeout defense. And I feel like I’m ready for my debut.

“If I defend 10 takedowns and knock this guy out on Saturday, there will always be people criticizing,” he continued. “What am I going to say? I have to say, ‘Fuck you go and choose who you want me to fight.’ I train, I develop my [takedown] defense, and give Glover – the best in the world – a job [in the gym], but that will never be good enough for some people.

Michailidis, Pereira’s first opponent in the UFC, “is a striker but has good jiu-jitsu,” the Brazilian said, “but he can’t take people down in his fights so it’s hard for him to ‘use your jiu-jitsu. Anything can happen in a fight. I do well in training, so if I can do [in the fight] what I do in training will be perfect. And I say that because I train with the best, a guy who knocks everyone down.

A two-sport knockout artist, “Poatan” would love to score a UFC highlight, but would rather go far at Madison Square Garden.

“I would like to fight three rounds, 15 minutes,” he said. “Of course, if a knockout or a submission comes up, it’s not bad. … You can’t predict how it will turn out, but I would like to fight this guy for three rounds.

About Johnnie Hill

Johnnie Hill

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