Israel Adesanya established himself in the kickboxing community before winning the middleweight title in the UFC. Many people rank Adesanya as one of the all-time best UFC champions.
However Adesanya had a kickboxing foe that would go on to best him twice – Alex Poatan Pereira.
The odds favor Israel Adesanya to defeat Alex Pereira in their upcoming UFC 281 contest. However, Adesanya disagreed with those odds despite having successfully defended his middleweight title five times.
Adesanya made the following remarks during the UFC 281 media event:
“I saw it last night, I was like, why am I the favorite in this on the betting odds? I never check them, but I just happened to see something on Instagram and I was like, how the f**k am I the favorite?”
“I feel like we should change that or something. How can you change that? Fake an injury? I think people should bet on him on this fight. See what happens.”
Later, Adesanya reiterated, adding:
“He should be the favorite. I don’t know why – these betting people, whoever makes these odds sometimes – I just think he should be the favorite in this fight.”
But perhaps the oddsmakers knew a thing or two about what they’re doing – at least when James Krause isn’t involved. A video surfaced of Alex Pereira being shoddy at defending calf kicks – which have been one of the main weapons Adesanya has utilized to dismantle a number of his challengers including Paulo Costa.
UFCstats reveals Adesanya typically directs anywhere from 25% to 50% of his significant strikes at the legs of his opponents.
This is the strategy which only Jan Blachowicz successfully thwarted. Blachowicz was mehodical in checking kicks and had discouraged Adesanya from even throwing them later in the clash.
He also used his takedown skills to his advantage and controlled Adesanya on the ground – even though his grappling leaves much to be desired.
Pereira has a very limited amount of experience in MMA and even EA sports thinks his grappling is lacking. That being said he does have KO power and a win over Adesanya so it’s unclear if he’ll address the low kicks or plan to use FightIQ to his advantage.