Despite massive title loss, Israel Adesanya most profitable UFC fighter in 2022

Israel Adesanya suffered the biggest setback of his mixed martial arts career in 2022, but his superstardom still resulted in him turning the most profit for the UFC in the past year.

Adesanya fought three times in the octagon in 2022. He faced off against Robert Whittaker in February in a rematch and won via decision. His next encounter came against Jared Cannonier in July, which he again won by decision.

His last fight of the year against former Glory Kickboxing foe Alex Pereira proved to be a major setback for the longtime middleweight champion. At UFC 281, ‘The Last Stylebender’ failed to exact revenge on Pereira for his past two losses in kickboxing and lost his first-ever fight at middleweight.

Israel Adesanya‘s second fight against Whittaker netted 600,000 pay-per-view buys while his second fight of the year against Cannonier earned the promotion 400,000 pay-per-views.

However, it was his cross-combat-sport trilogy meeting against ‘Poatan’ that generated the most hype and lived up to it with Pereira’s fifth-round knockout of the former champion.

UFC 281 gained 600,000 pay-per-view buys, bringing the total number of buys across the year to more than 1.6 million.

Alex Pereira compares his amateur losses to his matchup against Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya has only suffered two knockout losses in his combat sports career. Once in kickboxing and once in mixed martial arts, the only common factor shared between the two knockouts was that they were inflicted by Alex Pereira.

However, Pereira shared a similar story of his own from his time as an amateur fighter. ‘Poatan’ revealed how he failed to win against a certain fighter due to their stylistic mismatch.

He said:

“I’m going to say something that I’ve never told anyone. I have 28 fights in amateur. I won 25 of them by knockout. I lost three fights. Three times to the same guy. In amateur, three fights. I don’t understand why. But now I do. The styles don’t match. The guy has stopped fighting. If I fought him again today, I think I’d lose again.

“Even though he’s done fighting, if I fought him, I would lose. If I fought him 10 times, I’ll lose. Adesanya needs to get that, the same way Whittaker did. He just doesn’t accept it.”

Pereira hinted towards Israel Adesanya to lay off on challenging him again and assured him that the outcome will be the same due to his own past experience.

Check out Pereira narrating his anecdote below:
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