UFC 281 this past weekend marked the crowning moment of Alex Pereira’s incredibly young 8-fight MMA career. Competing for the UFC middleweight crown in only his fourth bout inside the octagon, Pereira remained Adesanya’s nightmare, disposing of the now-former champion via fifth-round TKO in comeback fashion.
To earn his title shot, the Brazilian scored a first-round knockout against top contender Strickland at UFC 276 this past July. A win for either man expected to see them square off with that evening’s main event winner, which was Adesanya who defeated Jared Cannonier by unanimous decision.
Despite his disdain for Adesanya and experience against Pereira, Strickland didn’t expect the matchup to end the way it did.
“He’s a f****** badass big motherf****** Brazilian and he touches you and you go to sleep, it’s the weirdest f****** thing,” Strickland jokingly told The Schmo. “But I was not expecting that. I was a little surprised. I thought ‘Izzy’ was gonna be a twinkle toes and f***** dance around and outpoint him, but f***** hats off to you, Alex. You f***** bigass f***** scary Brazilian. You f***** go out and f***** do it (claps hands).”
The biggest critique Strickland received following his lone middleweight defeat in July was that he should have attempted to wrestle with the superior kickboxer. A similar question from the community surrounded Adesanya because of his significant MMA experience advantage against Pereira, and he did end up utilizing a bit of his hidden skillset in the fight.
Thanks to his approach and talent, Adesanya found himself comfortably up on the judges’ scorecards going into round five, but ultimately succumbed to the overwhelming presence of “Poatan.” The finishing sequence saw “The Last Stylebender” taken out with tight punches up against the octagon wall, but never went down, providing a bit of controversy regarding whether or not it was an early stoppage.
“I mean technically when I got stopped I was still coherent, I wasn’t dead,” Strickland said of his Pereira loss. “I was awake, I was aware (laughs). But nah, it was a good stoppage [against Adesanya], man. I mean, that f***** guy has dynamite. If it wasn’t that, he would have f***** countered. The f***** guy, bro. Dynamite in his hands. I tried to tell you guys. I should have wrestled.
“‘Izzy,’ you should have f***** wrestled. What happened, man? Why didn’t you f***** wrestle? Now you’re getting the same speech I got from everybody. ‘Hey, Sean. Why didn’t you wrestle?’ Because he’s a big f***** Brazilian. I wanted to f***** fight him. That’s why.”
Still seeking his rebound victory, Strickland is currently gearing up to battle the aforementioned Cannonier to close out UFC’s 2022 calendar on Dec. 17 at UFC Vegas 66. Meanwhile, there’s no confirmation of an immediate rematch coming Adesanya’s way, but he wants it and the promotion could very well head in that direction with no real clarity amongst the top contenders at present.
“I mean, here’s the thing, it’s not right,” Strickland said. “They shouldn’t have an immediate rematch. You should give the next guy in line a shot, but f***** UFC does what UFC does. I mean, it’s all about money, bro. They look at that as ‘Izzy’ is the most marketable to fight, but yeah, that’s not right. He shouldn’t get the rematch.”
Plan. Israel Adesanya details UFC 281 stoppage: ‘I was waiting for him to gas out so I can do my work’
Aftermath. Alex Pereira’s comeback win opens up world of opportunity for middleweight division
R.I.P. ‘The MMA community lost a legend’: Pros react to Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson’s death
Rankings. Alex Pereira stunner sends Israel Adesanya tumbling down the charts
The MMA Hour.
UFC Vegas 65 promo.
War Room: Vegas 65.
Breaking down Pereira’s win.
There’s always turbulence before the breakthrough. This makes success so much sweeter. Champions never stay down. We always find a way to the top.
— KAMARU USMAN (@USMAN84kg) November 14, 2022
Ufc 281 was a great fight card Still processing. Can’t wait for December 17th I wanna shine and I will shine. #inshallah
— Saidyokub Kakhramonov (@SaidYokubMMA) November 14, 2022
Halloween is over, Mike.
Family on the mats.
The gentle art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is more than a sport… It’s a family, it’s therapy, it’s self-love, and it does the body, mind, and soul good! Thank you Master Liborio, for sharing this life-changing art with me and for being such a great role model and human being. pic.twitter.com/SbxQbWRED6
— Jessica • Jag+) •Aguilar (@jagatt) November 15, 2022
Just letting everyone know that @ufc offered me @GamebredFighter 3x First time was for Nov 12. He said he needs more time, second time for Dec 10 he said he was going to to fight me and now he just said no again! ♂️ so I guess the B from his BMF belt doesn’t stand for bad ♂️
— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) November 14, 2022
Thank you to all who understand the role in which we play, protection is paramount. Decisions are over the second they are made, the conscience lives forever. Honoured, blessed & thankful. On the biggest stage there is, of the fighters, for the fighters – they remain the Kings. pic.twitter.com/MHe1xGHo8F
— Marc Goddard (@marcgoddard_uk) November 15, 2022
Dream big, king.
Ice cream party.
Serghei Spivac main event fight week got me looking up random facts about polar bears. #UFCVegas65
— Brendan Fitzgerald (@BrendanFitzTV) November 15, 2022
I think the story would be that much better if it was drug out over one or two more fights for each Pereira and Adesanya before their rematch. But it’s a massive gamble to expect Pereira defends twice, let alone once, assuming Robert Whittaker gets past Paulo Costa in February.
Thanks for reading!
Last Week’s Results:
Tuesday: 52% of 581 total votes answered “Less” when asked, “Are you more or less excited for Prochazka vs. Teixeira 2 than you were for the first fight?”
Monday: 57% of 377 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Does Sean O’Malley fight Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera for an interim title next?”
Today’s exit poll: