Brazilian fighter Alex Pereira is currently the only Brazilian holding a UFC belt and he is facing his longtime rival Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 287 on Saturday. Ahead of the fight, some Brazilian MMA legends gave their thoughts on the match-up.
Demian Maia, two-time UFC title contender and UFC Fight Pass color commentator said that the fight is a tough one for both fighters. “Poatan” has beaten Adesanya in both kickboxing and MMA, but has always had trouble during fights.
Former UFC and WEC featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, mentioned that Adesanya is a smart martial artist with a new mindset and fighting style, but he was winning the fight with ‘Poatan’ until the fifth round in their last encounter. He does not view ‘Poatan’ as the huge favorite for the fight but hopes he defends his belt and comes out victorious.
Aldo has experience in fighting and believes that it is a new story with a new Adesanya trying to learn new skills to surprise ‘Poatan’. Rafael Cordeiro, a veteran of Vale Tudo and head coach of Kings MMA, thinks this will be another great fight but acknowledges that Adesanya is a huge favorite who has placed his flag.
Adesanya thinks ‘Poatan’ will impose his spirit on the fight and is confident with three wins behind him. Cordeiro thinks that Adesanya is like Kazushi Sakuraba when Wanderlei Silva was making noise over him in PRIDE.
Silva knocked Sakuraba out three times. Cordeiro believes that the spirit will make the difference in the fight and hopes to see how Adesanya reacts to ‘Poatan’.
Former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira believes that ‘Poatan’ needs to be more aggressive than he was last time to connect his punches as soon as possible. Adesanya has landed more strikes, and he was winning the rounds until Pereira connected on him.
Oliveira does not think Adesanya will make mistakes this time and will be even more determined to win. He advises ‘Poatan’ to make Adesanya miss and not wait too long, as Adesanya will not miss this time.