Israel Adesanya’s head coach Eugene Bareman did notice some flaws in his latest middleweight title defense against Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 in July, but that didn’t change the fact that the performance was still one-sided and sensational in every way.
Adesanya will headline Saturday’s UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden, where he will defend his title against longtime contender – and two-time kickboxing opponent – Alex Pereira.
As for the fan criticism of Adesanya’s dominant decision win to end International Fight Week, Bareman didn’t care.
“Other people’s expectations don’t matter to me, they don’t matter to the team, and to Israel they matter a little more than they should,” Bareman said in an interview. Hour of MMA. “Something was going on there and we had a plan to hit more than us and we were trying to pressure Israel during this fight and we couldn’t gather in the corner with our ideas and his ideas. [coming] together.
“That’s what we need to work on. That’s what I took away from this fight – we need to find out the reasons why our ideas could not come together, and you could not continue with even more resentment. But it has nothing to do with what other people think, and I think that in the end he was disappointed that he could not translate what we planned to do that night in that cage.
While the performance wasn’t exactly what Bareman had in mind for Adesanya, City Kickboxing’s head coach still gives his fighter credit. Overall, Bareman, like most, expected Cannonier to be much more aggressive in combat. He wasn’t, and the fight played out the way it did.
“We still managed to get what we needed to win this fight,” Bareman said. “When I look back on that fight, I still think it was a masterful fight. What surprised me was that I thought that Cannonier would definitely put himself at greater risk. He became very, very conservative.
“It’s easy for me to say that, but it’s much harder to be in this cage, to be on Israel’s side and just say, ‘I’m going to move forward. Obviously, it’s a lot more difficult than people think.”