Less than six months after the first middleweight defeat of his professional mixed martial arts career, Israel Adesanya is back on the throne.
After surging to greatness at 185 pounds courtesy of a lengthy and dominant title reign, “The Last Stylebender” was unseated by a figure from his past in Alex Pereira, who had already recorded a pair of kickboxing victories over the Nigerian-New Zealander under the Glory banner.
“Poatan” left many believing he simply had Adesanya’s number last November at UFC 281, where he finished the previously unstoppable champion in the fifth and final round.
But earlier this month at UFC 287, Adesanya made good on his promise to ‘settle the score’ by brutally sleeping the Brazilian in the second round of their highly anticipated Miami-held rematch.
Now a few weeks on from the memorable knockout, Adesanya has reflected on a whirlwind period in his career and the intense feud he shared with Pereira.
Israel Adesanya “Grateful” For Alex Pereira Rivalry
On Wednesday, Israel Adesanya took to Facebook with another look back at UFC 287, which concluded with “The Last Stylebender” firing imaginary arrows into the unconscious body of “Poatan.”
While the pair exchanged words in the buildup to both their first MMA fight and second dance in the cage, they set aside their animosity at the Miami-Dade Arena. And in his latest post, Adesanya shared footage of the two engaging backstage.
In the caption, the two-time divisional kingpin expressed gratitude to Pereira not only for playing his past in a series full of “beautiful violence” but also for the defeat he handed him in New York City last year.
“I love this game. Nothing compares on this planet, in this life than putting it all on the line. One shot, the whole world watching…waiting…then BOOM!! HISSTORY,” Adesanya wrote. “Our individual legends will always be intertwined because of the stories we’ve told with our beautiful violence.
“I’m grateful we have this rivalry, I’m grateful he beat me. It forced me to grow, made me better. Now I have done the same for him, the gift that keeps on giving…ass whoopings . Shoutout to the Warrior from Brazil Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira!” Adesanya concluded.
For now, the pair’s head-to-head series looks set to be tucked away in the history books. Despite their MMA rivalry sitting at one win apiece, Pereira is set to head to new surroundings by making a push for two-division champion status at light heavyweight.
Adesanya, meanwhile, will be keeping a close eye on the UFC 290 pay-per-view in July, where the first challenger to his second reign is set to be confirmed when Robert Whittaker and Dricus Du Plessis collide.