UFC 291: Alex Pereira teases most ‘fair’ scenario for Israel Adesanya trilogy

Alex Pereira may have a title shot at light heavyweight in front of him, but that doesn't mean he's forgotten about the middleweight champ.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 1 week ago

Former UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira got the job done in his light heavyweight debut at UFC 291 on Saturday. While the results were debated, “Po Atan” nonetheless ended the night with a split decision victory and a likely title shot in the offing.

But one name that remains attached to the kickboxing star is Israel Adesanya. During the post-fight scrum, the Brazilian gave his condition to agree to a third fight against “The Last Stylebender.” 

Alex Pereira admits having tough weight cuts at 185 pounds

With his 6’4” frame, Alex Pereira’s ability to cut down to 185 pounds has been a mystery for many. But as he admitted to Joe Rogan in the Octagon interview, those cuts to middleweight were getting more and more challenging. 

“(Moving to light heavyweight) was awesome, because that’s 20 less pounds to cut so it made a big difference.” 

Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya face-off following the ceremonial weigh-ins at UFC287 - Pereira v Adesanya 2 at Kaseya Center on April 7, 2023 in Miami, Florida Miami, Florida United States - ZUMAp175 20230407_zsa_p175_182 Copyright: xLouisxGrassex
IMAGO | Zuma

He made a similar statement during the post-fight scrum. 

“Before my last fight happened when I made weight, I told the guys that I was going to be taking a break from (middleweight). It was getting hard a little bit, too many (weight cuts) in a short span of time.” 

Pereira gives condition for Adesanya trilogy

Even in his new weight class, Alex Pereira continues to receive questions about rival Israel Adesanya. The two men evened the score in April when Adesanya knocked Pereira out in the second round to reclaim the title. 

During the Octagon interview, he told Rogan through his coach and translator about his plans to become an undisputed light heavyweight champion someday, while also mentioning some unfinished “business.” 

“Right now, I’m focused on this division. I want to be champion of this division, then I have some business to solve.” 

During the scrum, he gave a likely clue regarding those other plans. 

“I went up to light heavyweight, do one more fight, take some time from all those cuts, and then (go back to middleweight). (Adesanya and I) are 1-1 at middleweight. Nothing’s more fair than to make the trilogy at middleweight.” 

What Adesanya thinks about a trilogy with Alex Pereira

Right after their rematch at UFC 287, Adesanya put his rivalry with Alex Pereira to bed. They did have a brief back-and-forth on Twitter to draw some speculations that things may not be over yet, but the Lagos, Nigeria native also gave his condition to agree to a third fight. 

“If he wins the belt at 205, I’ll do it again. But if not, I think he’s done with it, I’m done with it. 

“Everybody else wants to see it, but we’re done with it, that’s life.”

Originally, Adesanya was being set up to defend the title against Dricus Du Plessis, who defeated former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 290. But according to him, the South African pulled out due to injury and that Sean Strickland will now be stepping in for UFC 293 in September. 

As for Pereira, he improved to a record of 8-2 after his win over Jan Blachowicz.

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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