Adesanya's coach admits he 'wanted longer' before Pereira rematch

Israel Adesanya’s coach admits he ‘wanted to wait longer’ between TKO defeat by Alex Pereira and huge UFC 287 rematch with powerful Brazilian for middleweight title

  • Israel Adesanya was dethroned by Alex Pereira, who claimed middleweight title
  • Kiwi’s coach says Adesanya is adamant he had to rematch Brazilian immediately
  • They will lock horns in main event of UFC 287 in April in massive fight  

Israel Adesanya’s coach has admitted he wanted more time before the huge rematch with Alex Pereira at UFC 287 in April. 

Pereira dethroned the middleweight champion with a fifth-round stoppage, claiming the belt from the man he’d beaten twice during his kickboxing days. 

The Brazilian is the first fighter to beat Adesanya at middleweight and Eugene Bareman is tasked with helping him avenge the loss. 

‘If I had a choice, which I quite often don’t, then I would probably have waited longer just to give Israel a little bit more time between a stoppage like that and the next fight,’ Bareman told the MMA Hour. 

‘Even in an ideal world I would have done what they do in boxing. I would have brought in a couple of guys for Israel to warm up on and then fight [Pereira]. 

Eugene Bareman (right) wanted more time for Israel Adesanya (left) to prepare for the rematch

Alex Pereira will face Adesanya in April after the Brazilian stopped him at UFC 281 last year

‘In the UFC, we don’t have that choice and, quite frankly, Israel is 100 percent adamant that he must be the next person to fight Alex Pereira. Beyond all doubt. 

‘So much so that when they were talking about Pereira fighting—I can’t remember, it was for one particular card, I think they had no main event or they had someone pull out of a main event at the end of last year—so much so that when there was talk that Pereira was going to fight, Israel was like, ‘We’ll fight.’ 

‘Before Israel had his surgery and everything, Israel was prepared to take the fight on four to five weeks’ notice if Pereira was willing to take the fight.’

Adesanya was beating Pereira on the scorecards up until the fifth-round stoppage back at UFC 281. 

And some claimed the call from the referee to intervene came too early, not allowing ‘The Last Stylebender’ time to recover. 

But Bareman is relieved no further damage was done. 

He added: ‘You know my background, so I could quite possibly just have an innate feeling to err on the side of caution, but I believe the chances of Israel coming out of that without being further hurt were minimal. He was probably going to get hurt even more.

‘And to that end, I’m glad he stopped it, because he prevented Israel from being damaged even further and we’re in the position now where we’re able to be healthy and have a second go of it, trying to beat that monster. I’m happy with the stoppage.’

Adesanya was dominant at middleweight until he faced the powerful Brazilian 

Pereira remains inexperienced at the top level of MMA and questions remain over his wrestling and ground defence. 

But against Adesanya, such a familiar foe, he can be confident in a striking battle that suits him to a tee. 

The champion is a slight underdog with bookmakers but will feel he can make his power tell at some point over 25 minutes. 

Whether Adesanya is more aggressive and tries to fight fight with fire is another matter altogether.  

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