According to Israel Adesanya, his impending title fight against Alex Pereira in the UFC should be treated like a “horror movie.”
When ‘The Last Stylebender’ competes against former kickboxing foe Pereira at UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden the following weekend, he will face one of the toughest tests of his UFC career.
In their kickboxing careers, Adesanya has previously fallen to Pereira twice, with the Brazilian becoming the first fighter to knock his opponent out in the first round of their rematch five years ago.
The stakes will be different this time around for the pair, who enter the Octagon in fine shape with Adesanya still undefeated at 185 pounds since entering the UFC.
Due to his superior skills in MMA compared to kickboxing, the Nigerian star has vowed to be his opponent’s worst nightmare and anticipates their fight to go in a new direction.
“I want to make this a horror movie,” Adesanya told TMZ Sports when assessing his upcoming battle with Pereira. “I want to be the first person he sees when he wakes up. I want to make sure I’m right in his line of sight so he’s looking at me. Even though the way you defend is different, the way you attack is different. It’s kinda stupid sometimes. No disrespect to kickboxing.
“I always felt my striking was better suited for MMA, for the glove size but also the way, the freeness of attacking, I can clinch someone and trip ’em down. I can elbow, things like that and I know he’s good at stuff like that as well but I’ve been doing this a lot longer.”
Pereira’s road to the Adesanya fight
Prior to taking on Adesanya for the UFC championship the next weekend, Pereira has quickly risen in the rankings. He has won his first three fights since entering the organization, including a decisive victory over Sean Strickland last time out.
The champion has received harsh criticism for his recent performances from fans who call him “boring,” including former two-weight champion Henry Cejudo.
Adesanya has vowed to pick up the stoppage against Pereira despite refusing to consider the possibility of trying to make it to the final bell.
“I’m really excited to have someone, finally, who, after the first round or second round they realise they can’t do s*** and [don’t] just want to be defensive,” Adesanya said ahead of the fight. “I’m excited to have someone who’s going to attack me and try and finish me.”
“This is the story of the fight because he’s done it before in the past in kickboxing, so is he going to get knocked out or am I going to get knocked out? I’ve rebirthed myself. I’ve rebirthed it, and I just feel like I want to have fun. That’s the goal. 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.”