Pereira (6-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) challenges Adesanya for the middleweight title in the UFC 281 headliner Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Pereira has defeated “The Stylebender” in kickboxing twice, once by knockout.
But former title challenger Cannonier, who just lost to Adesanya (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) by unanimous decision at UFC 276 in July, thinks the champion has had much more time to adjust to MMA, hence giving him the experience advantage.
“It definitely favors Izzy more,” Cannonier said in an interview with Helen Yee. “He’s been here longer. He’s had all these five-round championship fights with the best in our sport, so it’s definitely different. He definitely has the experience in that regard. He’s altered his kickboxing style more for MMA. Alex still has sort of a kickboxing base, his stance. Not to say that it’s a detriment to him, but it can be exploited as far as MMA goes. I think the advantage lies with Israel in that regard.”
It took Pereira only seven professional fights and three octagon bouts to earn a title shot. He starched Cannonier’s upcoming Dec. 17 opponent Sean Strickland with his patented left hook to punch his ticket to Adesanya, and Cannonier can see his pop being the difference maker.
“The power lies with Alex, for sure,” Cannonier added. “They’re both the same size, you know, so Alex is going to be a denser opponent, so he’s probably a little bit heavier. It’s definitely going to be an exciting fight.”