UFC: Pereira Turns Down Fight Against Israel Adesanya

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UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira has ruled out a possible return to middleweight for a third fight against former champion Israel Adesanya.

In a recent interview, Pereira made it clear that a trilogy fight with Adesanya was unlikely.

“Trilogy with Adesanya? I’m not moving back to middleweight. I don’t think I can still do it at all. Plus, I’m super motivated in the welterweight division. If the third fight takes place, it will be only in the light heavyweight division,” Pereira said, as quoted by MMA News.

Pereira and Adesanya have one of the most intense rivalries in combat sports, which includes four fights across kickboxing and MMA, with Pereira leading the series 3-1, twice defeating Adesanya in kickboxing before transitioning to MMA, where they met again in the UFC.

In their first MMA bout at UFC 281, Pereira stunned Adesanya with a fifth-round TKO to capture the middleweight title. However, Adesanya exacted revenge at UFC 287, reclaiming the title with a second-round knockout. This heated rivalry has captivated fans and added significant drama to their encounters.

Pereira is set for a rematch with Jiri Prochazka on June 29, headlining UFC 303. With this bout, Pereira continues his focus on the light heavyweight division, where he has been thriving.

Meanwhile, Adesanya is preparing for his return from a lengthy hiatus and has announced a showdown against current champion Dricus du Plessis, which is scheduled for August 17 at UFC 305 at RAC Arena in Australia.

Adesanya took to social media on June 17 to announce the fight, sharing a graphic of himself and his opponent with the caption, “The sun of Africa is the same sun that lights up our planet. The sun will set and rise again until you walk into it. Enjoy the sun while it shines. Darkness falls when it’s gone.”

The anticipated matchup between Adesanya and du Plessis has been a long time coming. Du Plessis missed the UFC 293 event in Sydney due to a leg injury during training camp, leading to Sean Strickland stepping in and upsetting Adesanya for the title. Du Plessis then defeated Strickland in January, setting the stage for his bout with Adesanya.

The August 17 fight promises to be a huge pay-per-view event, with both fighters vying for the title of ‘true African champion.’ This all-African matchup adds intensity to the rivalry, as Adesanya and du Plessis bring their skills and anger to the cage.