Alex Pereira Opens Up About Airport Encounter with Israel Adesanya and Discusses Guaranteed Title Shot with Jan Blachowicz Win

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Alex Pereira Opens Up About Airport Encounter with Israel Adesanya and Discusses Guaranteed Title Shot with Jan Blachowicz Win

The intense rivalry between Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya continues to make waves, even as the two fighters displayed respect for each other outside the octagon this week. Pereira and Adesanya had a friendly encounter at the airport in the United States, which resulted in humorous videos being shared on social media. Pereira joined MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca to talk about their unexpected meeting.

Israel Adesanya Alex Pereira
Alex Pereira landing on Israel Adesanya at UFC 281 (MMA Junkie)

Pereira explained that both fighters were staying at the same hotel in Australia but never had a chance to meet there. It was during their departure, at the Los Angeles to New York connection, that they finally crossed paths. Pereira described their interaction as friendly, with both exchanging greetings and sharing laughs. Despite the pleasant encounter, Pereira made it clear that the rivalry between them still exists.

While Pereira doesn’t speak English, he had his coach Plinio Cruz ask Adesanya if they could shoot some videos for social media. Although they had a lighthearted moment together, Pereira emphasized that once inside the cage, they would switch back to war mode. As Pereira prepares to face Jan Blachowicz, he believes it’s natural to have a rivalry with the opponent he is fighting. However, he acknowledged that the current circumstances didn’t warrant a rivalry with Adesanya.

When asked about the possibility of another UFC clash between the two fighters in the future, Pereira admitted that he wasn’t sure. He explained that it depends on his success in the light heavyweight division. Pereira stated that he could make the middleweight limit of 185 pounds if needed, but he wants to give his body a break from the weight cut. He plans to fight two or three times in the light heavyweight division before considering his next move.

Pereira’s manager has confirmed with the UFC that a win over Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291 on July 29 would earn Pereira a shot at the 205-pound championship. However, the timing of the title opportunity depends on the outcome of the matchup between Jamahal Hill and Jiri Prochazka. Hill, who defeated Pereira’s teammate Glover Teixeira to claim the vacant UFC light heavyweight title, may defend his belt against Prochazka before facing Pereira. Pereira expressed his support for Hill, as a fight between them would generate significant interest.

In analyzing potential opponents, Pereira believes Blachowicz is more technically skilled, while Hill possesses a more aggressive and open style of fighting. Pereira sees the openings in Hill’s game as both dangerous and advantageous for him.

As Pereira prepares for his upcoming fight, he remains focused on his goal of becoming a champion in the light heavyweight division. The encounter with Adesanya at the airport may have been friendly, but Pereira’s determination to succeed and his rivalry with his opponents remain unwavering.

Check out Adesanya’s comments below: “The rivalry will always exist,” Pereira said. “I’m fighting [Jan Blachowicz] now, I have to have rivalry with the guy I’m fighting, you know? He’s in there and he wants to kill me, and I want to do the same to him. How am I going to treat him [nicely]? I have to be mean there. It’s the same thing with Adesanya. For example, if I were to fight him again, we would have a rivalry. But now, why? We’ll meet; Adesanya, he’s there with a teammate, I’m in the same spot, and we can’t [cross paths] because we’ll destroy the whole place and beat each other up? That doesn’t exist. That type of rivalry doesn’t exist with me.”

Alexander Volkanovski outlines the narrative on how the UFC is working on the trilogy bout between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira

Israel Adesanya’s remarkable performance against Alex Pereira at UFC 287 on April 8 continues to leave UFC fans in awe. Despite a momentary setback in the second round where Pereira appeared to have Adesanya hurt, the middleweight champion made an astonishing comeback, securing victory through a knockout. The win was so impressive that even UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier believes it to be the knockout of the year thus far.

Adesanya’s triumph over Pereira, combined with his controversial taunting of Pereira’s child after the fight, left spectators eager to witness a rematch between the two fighters. However, Pereira surprised everyone by announcing his decision to move up to the light heavyweight division. He is now set to challenge Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291, with the possibility of the winner earning a shot at the light heavyweight title.

Meanwhile, the UFC has made significant moves in the middleweight division. Robert Whittaker is scheduled to face Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290 on July 8, and the victor of that bout will be granted the opportunity to contend for the middleweight title. However, it appears that Adesanya may also be competing at UFC 293 on September 10. It remains uncertain whether Whittaker or Du Plessis would be available for a quick turnaround to face Adesanya in that event.

While fans will have to wait for a potential trilogy fight between Adesanya and Pereira, UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski believes that the UFC has a strategic plan in place to arrange the bout in the future. During an interview with the MMA Fan Podcast with Stu and Blake, Volkanovski expressed his belief that a third encounter between his friend Adesanya and Pereira could occur, potentially in the light heavyweight division if Pereira becomes the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion:

“…I think it will happen. I think it’s just not something that’s going to happen right away. Obviously, three fights back to back isn’t always good. Like we’ve seen it before, but you don’t really want them like that, so for them to agree, if he(Pereira) wants to go up, say, win the light heavyweight title, and then they fight for like champ-champ. Like, obviously the fight could be massive. Whether that’s what the UFC is planning on doing, I don’t know. I do think that would be pretty clever.”

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Edited by: Gerard Crispin