UFC 281: Israel Adesanya Admits Alex Pereira Has Bragging Rights, But “They Can’t Save You”

Israel Adesanya, UFC 281
Israel Adesanya, UFC 281 press conference Credit: Youtube/UFC

Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya faces an old foe from his kickboxing days at UFC 281 this Saturday in New York City. But as he explained during this week’s pre-fight press conference, an army has his back.

“Last time I said it was a walk in the garden, but this time I’m not walking alone,” said Adesanya, referencing the historic Madison Square Garden. “I brought an army with me. We’ve got Dan Hooker, Brad Riddell, Carlos Ulberg, and all of CKB [City Kickboxing].”

That sense of comradere is something Adesanya would return to throughout Wednesday’s presser. “The Last Stylebender” also suggested that Pereira, who twice defeated the current UFC middleweight champ in kickboxing, should be “grateful” to him for being part of the massive New York card.

“He should be grateful. He wouldn’t be here without me. My run to the title was a lot, a lot more impressive than what he’s done,” Adesanya exclaimed. “He should be grateful that he’s here because of me.”

“Behind us is a whole army and behind us is a whole nation, is a whole spirit, is a whole mana,” Adesanya added. “You can’t f*ck with it. Trust me, you can’t.”

When Pereira pointed out that the pair would be alone in the octagon, the champ replied by saying that “Oh yeah, it’s you and me, don’t worry. But they’re gonna be with me, they’re gonna be with me in spirit, don’t worry. Trust me. They can’t save you either. They can’t save you.”

As for those previous performances, with Pereira defeating Adesanya once by decision, and once by knockout, “he’s got bragging rights,” Adesanya admitted. “Talk all the sh*t you want. Talk all the sh*t you want. Because trust me, they can’t save you either when you’re locked in there with me.”

UFC 281 takes place this Saturday, November 12, 2022 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY.