Israel Adesanya had already established himself as a top fighter in the UFC well before his loss to Alex Pereira at UFC 281. With a UFC title under his belt for over three years and many impressive victories, Adesanya was a force to be reckoned with.
However, Pereira had become a significant rival to Adesanya, and their history extended beyond their UFC matchup.
A victory over Pereira at UFC 281 would have delivered a satisfying conclusion to their story, but Adesanya’s TKO loss to Pereira may have been what he must to take his fame to the next level.
Pereira had become Adesanya’s nemesis, and beating him in a scenic knockout victory at UFC 287 was a significant accomplishment for Adesanya.
Adesanya’s win over Pereira was significant for his career and the emotional post-fight speech.
Although Adesanya would have selected not to have mourned three previous losses to Pereira, how things played out to let him boost his star energy and create a compelling narrative for his career.
However, there was something that still bothered the champ.
After winning the fight, Adesanya taunted Pereira and his son, who had mocked Adesanya during a past Glory of Heroes kickboxing match. Adesanya’s revenge on Pereira’s son was a clear message that he was not to be messed with.
Who Is Alex Pereira?
A Brazilian athlete, Alex Pereira, competes in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) as a professional mixed martial artist and former kickboxer.
He competed in the Middleweight division and previously held the UFC Middleweight Championship title before losing it to Israel Adesanya.
Israel Adesanya And Alex Pereira’s Son
In 2016 and 2017, Alex Pereira won two kickboxing matches against Israel Adesanya in the Chinese promotion Glory of Heroes.
The first was a close battle, with Pereira narrowly defeating Adesanya by decision. In their second encounter, Pereira knocked out Adesanya with a left curve in the 3rd round.
During the winner’s announcement in the second fight, Alex Pereira’s son imitated Adesanya by lying on his back and then standing up to stare at Adesanya.
The child’s actions seemed to be mocking Adesanya’s defeat. Recently, a video of Pereira’s knockout victory over Adesanya has gone viral, and some viewers caught that a child, perhaps Pereira’s son, was attending and seemed to be taunting Adesanya after the fight.
Israel Adesanya Clarified Why He Mocked Alex Pereira’s Son
“I hold grudges and have a good memory. The first time he hit me out in Brazil, his son entered the ring and pretended to be unconscious beside me. I was angry and thought to myself, ‘If your father doesn’t teach you a lesson, I will.’ I searched for the boy, pointed at him, and reminded him of my presence by saying, ‘Hey, hey, hey.'”
Adesanya acknowledged that he tends to be petty, as evidenced by when Pereira’s victory over him in Brazil was followed by Pereira’s son entering the ring and pretending to be dead next to him. Adesanya was upset and threatened to take on the child himself if Pereira didn’t do it.
“I had the option to talk to him backstage, and we’re on good terms. He’s an outstanding champion and a true warrior. In his journey, I play the role of the villain, but I have to give him credit for his incredible achievements, considering the obstacles he has faced. Beating me is a significant accomplishment in his inspiring story. However, tonight is about my journey, which will go down in history.” This was said during the post-fight press conference.
Despite their rivalry, Adesanya and Pereira have mutual respect. Adesanya recognizes Pereira’s achievements as a great champion and warrior and admires the inspiring story of his journey to success.
Although Adesanya admits to playing the antagonist role in Pereira’s story, he remains focused on his narrative and the pursuit of making history in the sport.