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The main event comes in the Middleweight division, as UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya looks to fend off an old rival in Alex Pereira. A winner of three straight, all by decision, Adesanya enters the octagon looking to defend his title for the sixth time. Known for his dominance over the division, Adesanya is presented with a fresh, yet personal challenge in the form of Pereira. Having defeated Adesanya twice in Kickboxing, once via knockout, the Brazilian may have a mental edge over the Champion. With six straight wins, and only three coming in the UFC, it’s no secret that this rivalry catapulted Pereira into this title fight.

Receiving flak for his recent performances, many don’t understand how difficult it is to not only constantly fight the best, but to keep winning. Adesanya, however, since joining the UFC back in February 2018, has done such. Winning twelve of his thirteen fights inside the octagon, Adesanya has mainly fought former Champions or title challengers. A dynamic striker, with excellent distance management, Adesanya looks to pick apart opponents on the outside. With excellent size for the division, Adesanya uses his length to fire off an excellent jab. One in which often sets up power shots or leg kicks. Backed by excellent cardio, twenty-five minutes inside the octagon is no issue for the Champion.

In only three UFC appearances, Pereira has managed to establish himself as one of the most dangerous fighters inside the octagon and earn a title shot. The last being the biggest of deals, as becoming Champion is the ultimate goal. A credentialed Kickboxer, Pereira has transitioned into mixed martial arts very successfully. Gifted with immense power in hands, as well as having exceptional speed and precision, Pereira is one of the more feared strikers in mixed martial arts. The lone weakness if you will, is Pereira’s wrestling and grappling. However, having fended off eleven of fifteen takedown attempts and never controlled for more than four minutes, Pereira has done an excellent job improving that aspect of his game. Given Adesanya is a pure striker, with zero takedowns landed in fourteen fights in the UFC, I wouldn’t expect Pereira to have to worry about anything but striking

As for a prediction, I’m siding with Adesanya. Despite Pereira having two wins on the Champion, Adesanya has come a long way since. Evolving into one of the pound for pound greats in mixed martial arts, Adesanya has fended off all twenty-three Middleweight competitors placed in front of him. While Pereira is perhaps his toughest challenge yet, Adesanya’s footwork, range and cardio will be the factors that aide him to victory. Should Adesanya drag this fight into the championship rounds, I truly believe his odds of winning will increase, as his endurance will shine. With that said, I predict that Adesanya gets one back against the Brazilian, winning via late TKO.

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