Adesanya vs. Pereira: A Rivalry Forged in Kickboxing


Adesanya vs Pereira, The Middleweight division of the UFC has witnessed many exciting rivalries, but none quite like Israel Adesanya versus Alex Pereira. Their paths first crossed in the kickboxing ring, leaving a trail of defeat for Adesanya, and culminated in a dramatic conclusion inside the UFC octagon. This article delves into this captivating story, from their early encounters to the final, thrilling chapter.

Adesanya vs Pereira

Kickboxing Beginnings: Twice Pereira Emerges Victorious

Adesanya, known for his exceptional striking and charismatic persona, entered the kickboxing scene in 2016. Across the ring stood Alex Pereira, a powerful Brazilian fighter with a reputation for devastating knockout power. Their first meeting, at a Glory of Heroes event in China, saw Pereira emerge victorious by unanimous decision. This wasn’t a fluke – their rematch at Glory of Heroes 7 in 2017 was even more decisive. Pereira unleashed a thunderous left hook in the third round, sending Adesanya crashing to the canvas in a brutal knockout. These defeats were a blemish on Adesanya’s otherwise pristine record, planting the seeds of a rivalry that would extend far beyond the kickboxing ring.

Adesanya’s UFC Ascent: Middleweight Champion

Adesanya transitioned to MMA in 2018, quickly establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in the UFC. His technical striking, coupled with his exceptional footwork and fight IQ, propelled him to the top of the Middleweight division. In 2019, he defeated Kelvin Gastelum to capture the interim Middleweight title, and later that year, he unified the belts with a dominant victory over Robert Whittaker. Adesanya’s reign as champion was built on his ability to outpoint opponents with precise striking and well-timed takedown defense. He seemed nearly untouchable, defending his title successfully against multiple challengers.

The Looming Shadow of Pereira: A Rematch in the UFC

While Adesanya thrived in the UFC, Pereira was also carving his path in MMA. He transitioned successfully, showcasing his knockout power with victories in respectable promotions like LFA and PFL. In 2021, Pereira signed with the UFC, immediately generating buzz due to his past with Adesanya. The anticipation for a rematch grew with each of Pereira’s wins, culminating in a highly awaited clash at UFC 281 in November 2022.

UFC 281: Redemption or Repeat?

The atmosphere at Madison Square Garden crackled with electricity as Adesanya and Pereira entered the octagon. This time, the stakes were even higher – the undisputed UFC Middleweight Championship was on the line. Adesanya, looking to avenge his past defeats, started cautiously, utilizing his movement and jabs to control the distance. Pereira, ever the aggressor, patiently waited for his opportunity.

The fight unfolded as a tactical chess match in the first round. In the second round, however, the tide turned dramatically. Pereira landed a perfectly timed left hook, eerily similar to his kickboxing knockout, sending Adesanya crashing to the canvas unconscious. The referee immediately called a stop to the contest, crowning Pereira the new UFC Middleweight Champion. The elation on Pereira’s face was a stark contrast to the stunned silence that descended upon the arena. Adesanya’s seemingly invincible reign had come to a shocking end.

Adesanya vs. Pereira 2: Settling the Score

The dramatic conclusion at UFC 281 demanded a rematch. Adesanya, known for his resilience, vowed to come back stronger. The UFC capitalized on the intense rivalry, booking the highly anticipated rematch as the main event of UFC 287 in April 2023. This time, however, the fight played out differently. Adesanya adopted a more cautious approach, utilizing his footwork and leg kicks to keep Pereira at bay. He picked his shots strategically, avoiding Pereira’s devastating power. While the fight lacked the fireworks of their first encounter, Adesanya’s calculated approach proved successful. He defeated Pereira by unanimous decision, finally avenging his past defeats and reclaiming the Middleweight title.

The Legacy of Adesanya vs. Pereira: A Rivalry for the Ages

The Adesanya vs. Pereira saga is a testament to the unpredictable nature of combat sports. It’s a story of redemption and resilience, showcasing the fighters’ ability to adapt and overcome adversity. Their rivalry transcended the octagon, captivating fight fans with its unique backstory and dramatic conclusion. With Adesanya currently on a break from MMA, the future of this captivating rivalry remains uncertain. However, one thing is for sure – their encounters will forever be etched in UFC history as a testament to the thrilling world of combat sports.


What happened in the Adesanya vs. Pereira fight?

Israel Adesanya (former champion) and Alex Pereira clashed at UFC 281 on November 12th, 2022. Despite going into the fight as champion, Adesanya suffered a fifth-round technical knockout (TKO) loss, giving Pereira the Middleweight Championship title.

What was the history between Adesanya and Pereira before the UFC fight?

These two fighters actually have a history dating back to their kickboxing days. Pereira holds two wins over Adesanya in kickboxing matchups – a unanimous decision in 2016 and a third-round knockout in 2017.

Is this the first time they fought in MMA?

Yes, UFC 281 marked their first encounter inside the octagon.

Who won the first two fights?

As mentioned earlier, Alex Pereira won both their kickboxing encounters.

Does Adesanya have a chance in a rematch?

With Adesanya’s well-rounded skillset and Pereira still being a new UFC champion, a rematch could be exciting. However, Pereira’s power and history against Adesanya make him a dangerous opponent.

Is a rematch happening?

There hasn’t been an official announcement for a rematch as of today (May 25, 2024). However, considering the close history and the way their last fight ended, a rematch wouldn’t be surprising.

Where can I watch the Adesanya vs. Pereira fight?

You might be able to find the fight (or highlights) on streaming services that offer UFC content. However, the availability may vary depending on your location and subscription.

What are Adesanya and Pereira known for in their fighting styles?

Adesanya is known for his technical striking, footwork, and well-rounded MMA approach. Pereira, on the other hand, possesses knockout power and a devastating left hook.

Who are some other Middleweight contenders to watch?

The Middleweight division is stacked with talent. Fighters like Jared Cannonier, Paulo Costa, and Robert Whittaker are all in the mix for a title shot.

What’s next for Adesanya and Pereira?

Adesanya will likely look to get back into title contention, while Pereira will focus on defending his Middleweight Championship. Both fighters are expected to be major forces in the division for years to come.

To read more, Click here

About the author


Add Comment

Get in touch

Content and images available on this website is supplied by contributors. As such we do not hold or accept liability for the content, views or references used. For any complaints please contact Use of this website signifies your agreement to our terms of use. We do our best to ensure that all information on the Website is accurate. If you find any inaccurate information on the Website please us know by sending an email to and we will correct it, where we agree, as soon as practicable. We do not accept liability for any user-generated or user submitted content – if there are any copyright violations please notify us at – any media used will be removed providing proof of content ownership can be provided. For any DMCA requests under the digital millennium copyright act Please contact: with the subject DMCA Request.