Israel Adesanya is chomping at the bit to get his hands on Alex Pereira, but his coach Eugene Bareman is urging him to hold back his eagerness for a bit
The two fighters are set to meet for the fourth time in their careers at UFC 287 on April 8th, with Pereira holding two kickboxing wins over Adesanya. In November of 2021, Pereira scored a dramatic fifth-round TKO victory over Adesanya in their previous UFC bout. While it seemed possible that Pereira might face a new opponent for his first title defense, or even move up to challenge for the light heavyweight title, the UFC quickly scheduled a rematch between the two fierce rivals.
On a recent episode of The MMA Hour, Bareman expressed concern that Adesanya may be too eager to get his revenge, especially after recently undergoing minor surgery on his ankle.
“In an ideal world, I would have done what they do in boxing. I would have brought in a couple of guys for Israel to warm up on and then fight [Pereira]. In the UFC, we don’t have that choice, and, quite frankly, Israel is 100 percent adamant that he must be the next person to fight Alex Pereira. Beyond all doubt,” Bareman explained.
Bareman revealed that Adesanya had even offered to fight Pereira on short notice before undergoing surgery.
“Before Israel had his surgery and everything, Israel was prepared to take the fight on four to five weeks’ notice if Pereira was willing to take the fight.”
It is not clear which fight Bareman is referring to, but it could be the one against Khamzat Chimaev, or a main event at UFC 283 that needed a new headliner after a light heavyweight championship rematch between Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira was canceled due to a Prochazka injury.
Regardless of the timing, Adesanya is keen to erase the memory of his three previous defeats to Pereira, with the last loss, in particular, being a tough pill to swallow. Adesanya lost by a standing TKO, and some questioned the decision of the referee, Marc Goddard, to stop the fight.