Israel Adesanya is set to rematch his long-time nemesis Alex Pereira at UFC 287 in April, but his coach Eugene Bareman feels it may be too soon for his student.
Adesanya aims to reclaim the UFC middleweight championship after suffering a fifth-round standing TKO loss to Pereira, which marked the Kiwi’s first defeat at middleweight inside the UFC.
April 8. will mark the fourth time the pair have met in a combat sports contest, with Pereira getting the better of Adesanya on two occasions in kickboxing and now once in MMA.
While an immediate rematch wasn’t unlikely, the fight booking did come as a slight surprise due to Adesanya revealing he would now take some time off after a busy period as champion.
Eugene Bareman discusses Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira
On Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Bareman admitted he would have preferred if Adesanya had given it more time before agreeing to the rematch after undergoing a small ankle surgery.
“If I had a choice, which I quite often don’t, then I would probably have waited longer just to give Israel a little bit more time between a stoppage like that and the next fight,” Bareman said. “Even 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.
“So much so that when they were talking about Pereira fighting—I can’t remember, it was for one particular card, I think they had no main event or they had someone pull out of a main event at the end of last year—so much so that when there was talk that Pereira was going to fight, Israel was like, ‘We’ll fight.’ 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.”
Bareman satasfied with the stoppage
The stoppage in the fifth round that resulted in Adesanya losing his belt caused some controversy within the community. Still, Bareman stresses the stoppage was justified, and his fighter could live to fight another day.
“You know my background, so I could quite possibly just have an innate feeling to err on the side of caution, but I believe the chances of Israel coming out of that without being further hurt were minimal. He was probably going to get hurt even more.
“And to that end, I’m glad he stopped it, because he prevented Israel from being damaged even further and we’re in the position now where we’re able to be healthy and have a second go of it, trying to beat that monster. I’m happy with the stoppage.”
Quotes via MMA Fighting
Adesanya faces a mammoth task at UFC 287, but one he will be confident in overcoming, considering his success over the five rounds of their previous meeting.
UFC 287 goes down at the Miami-Dade Arena in Miami, Florida. The card features a fan-friendly co-main event between Jorge Masvidal and Gilbert Burns. Adrian Yanez will get the biggest test of his career thus far against Rob Font. Kevin Holland also returns to the card and faces Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Do you think Israel Adesanya has taken the rematch with Alex Pereira to soon? Let us know in the comments!