Chael Sonnen praises Israel Adesanya taunting Alex Pereira’s son after UFC 287 knockout: “It was absolutely incredible”

By Josh Evanoff - April 10, 2023

Former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen appreciates a good heel turn.

Israel Adesanya returned to the octagon over the weekend for his rematch with Alex Pereira. In their previous outing last November at UFC 281, ‘The Last Stylebender’ lost his middleweight title by fifth-round knockout. Furthermore, the Brazilian had defeated Adesanya in two prior kickboxing bouts as well.

Nonetheless, the former champion got his revenge on Saturday night. Adesanya scored a second-round knockout win over his longtime rival, reclaiming middleweight gold in the process. After the victory, the newly crowned champion pointed at Pereira’s son in the crowd and dropped to the ground.

The sequence was a nod to how Alex Pereira’s son reacted after his father defeated Israel Adesanya in their 2017 kickboxing match. After the Brazilian scored the knockout win, his son entered the ring and mimicked ‘The Last Stylebender’ being knocked out.

While many have decried the champion taunting his rival’s son, Chael Sonnen loved it. During a recent edition of The MMA Hour, ‘The Bad Guy’ discussed Adesanya’s win. There, he praised the middleweight’s “heel turn”. The term is used in professional wrestling to pinpoint when a character goes from a hero to a villain.

Israel Adesanya Alex Pereira

(via Cooper Neil/Zuffa LLC)

Chael Sonnen discusses Israel Adesanya’s UFC 287 celebration

“Not knowing any of this would happen, he threw the bows back, gave him three shots. Took one lap around the octagon, found that young man, and gave him a receipt when he went down. That was beautiful work, which I almost missed,” Chael Sonnen stated on The MMA Hour. “It was absolutely incredible, I think he went heel.”

He continued, “It’s a big deal, if he’s gone heel, it matters… Not for nothing, you’re not square unless you’re a heel. If you’re a heel, it matters, because what are they going to do next? Well, if Izzy doesn’t want to fight him and that’s what he’s said, ‘No, we’re done, we’re square’, and you’re a heel. If that’s true, the audience is going to push back on what your request is, which will put him in a trilogy fight with Pereira… I like the receipt he gave the kid, I liked the whole thing.”

“Going and acting like we’re square with the world when I got my ass kicked multiple times but I had a good night tonight, that’s a heel move. I like heels.”

What do you make of these comments? Do you agree with Chael Sonnen? Sound off in the comment section below PENN Nation!

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Alex Pereira Chael Sonnen Israel Adesanya UFC UFC 287