Israel Adesanya’s coach, Eugene Bareman, was a little perplexed with Adesanya’s walkout at UFC 287 even though he is used to seeing Adesanya’s antics. Bareman said that there were some little things in the walkout, such as the way Adesanya was greeting the crowd, and visiting their training partners before going into the cage which were uncharacteristic of the fighter.
However, once Bareman asked Adesanya to stay calm, they moved forward. Managing Adesanya to victory was not an easy task in this fight, where Adesanya was seeking revenge against Alex Pereira. There were moments when Bareman’s words may have positively influenced the outcome.
Bareman whispered “You’re a mastermind. Remember, you’re a mastermind” to Adesanya just before the fight started, a phrase which he reminded Adesanya of during the fight to keep him on track in the face of a strategic shift.
Although they took more risks in this fight, Bareman reminded Adesanya that they were not asking him to let his animalistic instincts take over, and it was just a reminder to stay calm and focused.
Bareman was happy with what he saw in the first round against Pereira as all three judges scored the round for the challenger. Adesanya had lost the previous matchup against Pereira, but this time, it was Adesanya who found the finish, knocking Pereira out in the second round with a pair of hammer right hands as Pereira swarmed him against the fence.
Bareman instilled confidence in Adesanya by telling him “he’s falling for everything” as it was essential for the fighter to lead more and open up his offense. Bareman communicated to Adesanya that Pereira had no idea when Adesanya was going to lead or feint.
Adesanya can finally claim bragging rights over Pereira after losing to him in two previous kickboxing contests and their first MMA fight. Their rivalry dates back to 2016, and the two have fought in China, Brazil, and twice in the US (New York and Miami).
After the fight, Bareman had a chance to reflect on the situation, where he experienced happiness and relief, a feeling of weightlessness, like they had traveled the world fighting this guy and finally beat him.