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Israel Adesanya believes beating Alex Pereira is more important than retaining title at UFC 281: “It’s not gonna be like last time”

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is solely focused on defeating Alex Pereira, nothing else.

‘The Last Stylebender’ has been out of action since his rematch with Jared Cannonier in July. The contest was an easy victory for Adesanya, as he won by unanimous decision. The win was also Adesanya’s fifth-straight middleweight title defense.

He’s now set to make the walk at UFC 281 later this month on pay-per-view. Standing opposite Adesanya will be a former kickboxing champion, Alex Pereira. The Brazilian’s quick rise in the UFC was made thanks to his two prior wins over the titleholder in kickboxing.

His current winning streak also helped matters as well. Pereira is 3-0 inside the octagon, last knocking out Sean Strickland in July. That win saw him claim a title shot, and also has him as a very slight underdog to the dominant champion.

For Israel Adesanya, the fight at Madison Square Garden is more important than the title. In the champion’s eyes, securing the elusive win over Alex Pereira is all that matters at UFC 281, as he revealed on his YouTube channel.

Israel Adesanya
Image Credit: UFC

“Beating him, that’s what matters,” Adesanya said. “Like, the belt? F*ck the belt. Just beating him, a killer like him, that’s what matters. It’s not gonna be like last time. This is a different fighter you’re facing, and now I’ve become another fighter. I’ve re-birthed myself. I’ve re-birthed it, and I just feel like I want to have fun. That’s the goal.” (h/t MMAJunkie)

He concluded, “But this fight, I’m gonna have fun. That’s the ultimate goal. And when I have fun, I’m the best in the world.”

The matchup between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira is set to headline UFC 281 from Madison Square Garden in New York later this month. To see the full pay-per-view card, see here.

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