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UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya to face Alex Pereira on Nov. 12

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Israel Adesanya’s next UFC middleweight title defense will be against one of the promotion’s fastest rising stars. And a familiar face.

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Adesanya will face contender Alex Pereira at UFC 281 on November 12, the UFC announced on Friday. The event will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York, marking Adesanya’s second fight at the arena.

Adesanya, who currently holds a 23-1 MMA record, pulled off a weak win over contender Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 last month. It wasn’t so much that Adesanya was close to losing at any moment, it was just that there was little action in the fight itself (Adesanya at least entertained with his Undertaker-inspired strike).

Many believed that Pereira would be Adesanya’s next opponent due to both his current winning streak and his history with the champion.

Alex Pereira is a rising UFC star who has previously defeated Israel Adesanya.

A couple of hours before Adesanya’s victory over Cannonier, Perera defeated Sean Strickland, who then took the fourth seed in the UFC middleweight rankings by knocking him out in the first round. Pereira entered MMA after a legendary career in kickboxing, the same sport where Adesanya started his career.

Pereira faced Adesanya twice as a kickboxer and defeated him twice, once by unanimous decision and once by knockout in the third round. You can imagine that highlights from these fights will pop up frequently leading up to UFC 281.

These two did not wait for the fight to start exchanging jabs about their recent fights and kickboxing history.

Pereira has risen rapidly since joining the UFC, winning four fights in a row in spectacular fashion. That he got a title shot so early is just as much a statement of Adesanya’s dominance as the champion has already beaten every other fighter in the UFC’s top 6 middleweight rankings.

Adesanya’s only loss as a mixed martial artist remains his ill-fated challenge for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against then-champion Jan Blachowicz. Since winning the middleweight crown against Robert Whittaker, Adesanaya has defended his belt against Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, Marvin Vettori, Whittaker and Cannonier again.

Israel Adesanya poses during the weigh-in ceremony on Friday, July 1, 2022 in Las Vegas.  Adesanya is scheduled to take on Jared Cannonier for the world mixed martial arts middleweight title on Saturday at UFC 276 in Las Vegas.  (AP Photo/John Locher)
Israel Adesanya avenged multiple kickboxing losses at UFC 281. (AP Photo/John Locher) #


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