UFC 281 Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira: Who Was a Better Kickboxer Before UFC? Have They Fought in MMA Before?

Published 11/09/2022, 3:45 PM EST

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The countdown for the awaited event- UFC 281 has begun. The showdown between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira is scheduled at the world’s greatest stage- Madison Square Garden. Notably, the middleweight lynchpin ‘The Last Stylebender’ will defend his title for the sixth time on Nov. 12. However, given their history, the psychological advantage lies with the challenger going into a slugfest.

As the event draws closer, the verbal exchange between the two has gained traction.


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How many times have Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira fought before?

The middleweight rivals clashed two times in pro kickboxing at Glory of Heroes 1 and Glory of Heroes 7 in two successive years, 2016 and 2017, respectively. Both Adesanya and Pereira fought in the Singapore-based kickboxing promotion, Glory.

Significantly, ‘Poatan’ became the two-division champion in Glory as he claimed the Glory middleweight title at Glory 46 in Guangzhou, China in 2017. A couple of years later, he won the interim light heavyweight title at Glory 68 in Miami.

Who won Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira 1?

Alex Pereira won the first kickboxing bout against Israel Adesanya at Glory of Heroes in China by unanimous decision. The 3-round bout went into the distance and in the end, it was the Brazilian who was declared the winner.

All three judges scored the fight 28-29 in the favor of Pereira. However, the current UFC champion had his doubts about the scoring.

Remarkably, Pereira relied on his defense and used his gloves to defend his head. Thus, effectively blocking Adesanya’s power shots, which seemed to penetrate the Brazilian’s defense.

Who won Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira 2?

History repeated itself as Alex Pereira once again defeated Adesanya at Glory of Heroes 7 in Sao Paulo via KO (left hook). The knockout came in the final and the third round of the bout.

The similar knockout victory became the staple style of the ‘Poatan’ in UFC too. Thus, justifying his nickname- iron hand.

While ‘The Last Stylebender’ dominated the first two rounds, unfortunately, he got caught off-guard in the first minute of the final round. The Auckland resident maintained his distance and used his head movements effectively. On the other hand, the Sao Paulo fighter lagged behind his opponent on the scorecard in the initial rounds.

Therefore, he had to rely on a knockout to emerge as the victor.

Who has the better kickboxing record between Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya?

Israel Adesanya enjoyed huge success in his kickboxing career. He made his pro debut in 2010, after going 32-0 in his amateur record. Following his undefeated amateur career, he replicated the same success in pro kickboxing with a remarkable record of 75-5. Also earning 29 victories via knockout.

Initially, the Nigerian fighter started training in Muay Thai in 2008 but later made the transition to kickboxing. Further, the fighter fought in two different weight classes, middleweight, and heavyweight, a practice which he followed in UFC as well.

Alex Pereira holds a pro kickboxing record of 33-7. While the record might not attract eyeballs prima facie, his 21 knockout victories can ring alarm bells to any opponent. Notably, the Brazilian had an impressive run of little more than 4 years that stretched from 2017 to 2021.

Watch This Story: 5 times Israel Adesanya obliterated his opponents inside the Octagon

During this run that started from WGP Kickboxing 40 till Glory 78: Rotterdam, Pereira went 9-0. In addition, he claimed both Glory middleweight and heavyweight championships and defended his middleweight title 5 times.

Did Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira fight in MMA before?

This will be the first time when Adesanya and Pereira will face each other inside a cage. Both fighters made their MMA debuts when they had an active kickboxing career.

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While Adesanya made the switch to the UFC in early 2018 after his second loss against Pereira, the Brazilian also followed the suit in 2021.


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Significantly, Adesanya holds an impressive MMA record of 23-1, and his only loss came in a different division against Jan Błachowicz at UFC 259. However, he still remains undefeated in the middleweight division.


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‘Poatan’ is 3-0 in UFC and holds an overall record of 6-1. Following his similar style, he has achieved two of these 3 victories via knockouts.

What do you think of this exciting matchup at UFC 281? Let us know in the comments below.



Rohit Lohan

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Rohit Lohan is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his undergraduate as a History major, he is currently pursuing LLB. Rohit is a big MMA fan and has been following UFC since 2017.

Edited By: Vineet Nandwana