Israel Adesanya will have the chance to re-write some personal history when he defends his UFC middleweight title against Brazilian Alex Pereira on November 13 (AEST).
World champion Adesanya announced on Sports Center that he’ll fight old rival Pereira in a title fight at UFC 281 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The highly anticipated grudge match pits the two old foes against each other for the first time in mixed martial arts, after fighting twice before in kickboxing.
Watch Live UFC with ESPN on Kayo. Full Fight Night Events, PPV Prelims, Ultimate Fighter Series & More. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Adesanya was visibly shocked by the judges’ decision after his first fight with Pereira, with the Brazilian winning by unanimous decision.
The pair had their rematch less than a year later in March 2017, with a left hand knocking the Nigerian-born fight out during the third round.
While he hasn’t felt the need to chase revenge after losing both fights, Adesanya vowed to “slam this b****” ahead of their meeting at the famous New York venue later this year.
“Have I ever shied away from a fight? I’ve always picked the guy no one wants to fight,” Adesanya said on Sports Center.
“The guy that everyone runs away from, I run towards. So I run towards the fire and this is no different.
“After he beat me in Brazil, I never had any plans of trying to get revenge or anything like that because I don’t hold onto things.
“I’m telling you, the universe has presented this to me and it’s right there. It’s the perfect alley-oop and I’m going to slam this b****”.
Adesanya held onto his middleweight crown with a unanimous decision win over American Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 last month.
The victory extended the 33-year-old’s unbeaten run to three fights, after losing to Polish fighter Jan Blachowicz by unanimous decision in the UFC light heavyweight title fight last year.
As for his opponent, Pereira is undefeated from three fights so far in the UFC whilst he’s undefeated in his last six MMA fights.
The Brazilian is coming off a first-round knockout of the highly rated Sean Strickland.
Originally published as ‘Slam this b****’: Israel Adesanya’s message to old rival ahead of UFC grudge match