Henry Cejudo says Alex Pereira ‘more diverse’ than Israel Adesanya, expects knockout at UFC 281

·3 min read

Henry Cejudo thinks Alex Pereira is the man to end Israel Adesanya’s middleweight championship reign.

Adesanya (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) puts his title on the line against former kickboxing foe Pereira (6-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) in the main event of UFC 281 on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Pereira already has beaten Adesanya twice in kickboxing. “Poatan” had a fast rise in MMA, starching top contender Sean Strickland with his patented left hook at UFC 276 to set up a third meeting with Adesanya. Cejudo thinks that, with Pereira’s success against Adesanya in kickboxing, there are ways he can capitalize on some of the tendencies he thinks could hurt the champ.

“This is interesting, because Israel Adesanya hasn’t had the best performances and him not having the best performances, I’m saying being boring and everybody being critical of him, me being one of them,” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. “But I do believe with this fight you are gonna have two strikers, and I don’t think this fight is gonna go five rounds. I really don’t. I think just for the simple fact that Alex Pereira has experience with Israel Adesanya, and this is the way I see the fight coming out.

“Obviously Israel is a champion for a reason, but I also see the more the diversity that Pereira has I think is what makes him a little more dangerous, because there is one thing that Israel does leave behind, which is very wide, so I think he may end up changing this during the fight is his stance. Notice he’s very heavy on his legs, because he’s able to rock back and forth, and really a lot of mixed martial artists haven’t been able to take advantage of that front leg. But when you got a guy like Pereira who’s been there before, who’s a kickboxer, who’s known for kicking, this is where the fight could pay dividends on his side.”

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Cejudo sees Pereira as the more unpredictable striker with the better arsenal and picks him to knock out Adesanya if the fight stays standing.

“I just think he’s a little more diverse,” Cejudo added. “There are a couple of things that Israel does wrong in mixed martial arts, and I think Pereira is gonna end up capitalizing. No. 1 is his stance. He’s a little too wide. I do believe Pereira is gonna go ahead and pick at that front leg. He’ll tend to get people to come in, to eventually throw that hook. I think Pereira has been there before, where he has the ability to catch him with those right hands as soon as he (Adesanya) leans for that hook.”

He continued, “If it comes down to striking, I’m gonna go with Alex Pereira just for the simple fact that he’s beaten him twice before. This guy is more diverse with the kicks, with the jumping knees as we saw. These are things that Israel doesn’t necessarily do. Israel is the type of opponent that will chip you away, that will hurt you, that will end up finishing you in the later rounds. For Pereira, you just don’t know what you get. We saw it before: the jumping knees, the kicks, the left hooks, the right hands. I think he’s a little more diverse, so for that reason I’m going Alex Pereira by knockout.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie