“I was clear,” Adesanya questions the end of his fight against Pereira

“I was clear,” Adesanya questions the end of his fight against Pereira

TKO’d by Alex Pereira last weekend in the main event of UFC 281, Israel Adesanya relinquished the middleweight belt to the Brazilian. If he emphasizes the quality of the plan drawn up by his opponent, then the former champion does not hide a certain frustration with the way the referee stopped the fight in the fifth round.

Fury strikes and the referee who steps in. The final seconds of the fight against Alex Pereira this weekend at New York’s Madison Square Garden felt like a cross for Israel Adesanya. With Mark Goddard ending the shock decision to crown the new Brazilian UFC Champion and hand the now former king the first defeat of his career in the category. An arbitration option is not controversial.

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At a press conference, donning his fur coat, Adesanya even said that he fully agreed to this hiatus after talking about it with his coaches. But with a few more hours of hindsight, “The Last Stylebender” isn’t sure it fits anymore. Guest on MMA HourFor the MMA Fighting website, the Nigerian/New Zealander is back on this end of the fight. “I don’t blame the referee for his decision, Mark did a good job,” says Adesanya first. before explaining that he can still manage. “You can see what happens when I wake up. I was fine. I was lucid. I wasn’t really shaky. It was my feet.”

And to elaborate: “I got punched in the cage and said to myself, ‘You should run sideways, left or right.’ I steered to the right and while I was doing that…you know what happens when the peroneal nerve comes out? It happened to Michael Chandler or Henry Cejudo. When You walk, your leg gets stuck and accidentally drags on the floor…it happened to me during a fight and I wondered if something was wrong..and at one point, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I think my leg has this thing in it.’ It’s never happened to me in a fight before But I knew what it was.”

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Adesanya thinks the thing shouldn’t have caused the fight to stop. But he could understand the referee’s point of view. “At one point, Alex hit me with two big jabs, moving sideways and getting stuck. It wasn’t good. I think the referee was like, ‘Two big jabs and he’s amazing, oh my god…’ But the hitting wasn’t. Do that to me, I promise. It was It’s all in the legs, in the damage he’s done. So I said, “Okay, stay up, don’t move, let go – exhaust him.” I knew he was going to deliver big jabs so I lowered my head. But as for the referee, I stagger after two big jabs and keep standing like that, so He will say to himself: “This is not good. He’s trying to protect me. But when he jumped on me to stop the fight, I was like, “Ugh, dammit, I’m fine…” I was so disappointed. “

Especially since he thinks he can reverse direction before the last bell. “I was just waiting for him to run out so I could get back to my business. I was like, ‘He’s going to hit and miss, over and over, and when he gets tired he’ll come to the ring, and I’ll be able to take him down, or I’ll be able to find the right angle on him, hit him and do my job.'” Frustrated, Adesanya is also frustrated that Goddard was responsible during his unanimous decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum for the interim middleweight belt in April 2019.

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A fight during which his American opponent suffered several knockdowns without stopping. “He was the arbiter of this battle and he should have stopped it before the end,” recalls the former champion. “I have this faith in me. And Gastelum was given every chance of getting away with it, although he had already had more fights than any in history. It was because of my legs…”

If he hasn’t seen the fight yet, Adesanya believes he lacked a “one shot” at the end of the first round to finish off Pereira and then touch her well. But neither this moment nor the stop will haunt him. A handsome player, he likes to emphasize the Brazilian’s good strategy with his undercutting work on the legs. “I did everything I could to be ready for this fight. I’ve never felt better. But he hurt my leg, and that was smart. With a guy like me, he’s got such a good game, what are you doing? You’re taking my tires off! He’s done it from the start, and you haven’t I think it would affect me, but it paid off in the end.”

Happy to take some rest after three fights between February and November (all for the title) and finally get to enjoy Christmas and New Years when fights on the horizon have often prevented him from doing so in recent years (“I’m going to eat and drink and go out, deserved it”), the former champion does not yet know when we will see him again in the cage. But he has one certainty: he will face Alex Pereira in a rematch, and even four if we take into account their two fights (two victories for the Brazilian) in kickboxing.

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“My next fight will be against him, 100%,” he says. Even if he faces someone else by then and loses his belt, I will. But I hope I want this rematch knowing I can beat him. He’s a good fighter but I think I’m better. It might be me talking, but I’ve earned the right to be. The hunter is now the hunted.”

It would be great in Nigeria, mentioned by Dana White (UFC CEO) as a potential destination for the first UFC event in Africa in 2023. An idea he likes even if he doubts its viability due to “local government corruption”. It doesn’t matter, in the end. Adesanya knows where he is going. “Maybe I will face Pereira two more times.” The implication is clear: the former champion intends to regain the belt ahead of a possible triple entendre in MMA against Poatan. Because of the quality of the first fight, we immediately signed up for it.

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