Exclusive: Kevin Lee backs Alex Pereira to beat Israel Adesanya in immediate rematch but sees him fall short of Khamzat Chimaev

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Former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya faced Pereira in the main event of UFC 281 last Saturday. He entered the fight looking to avenge his two kickboxing losses to Pereira and tie mixed martial arts legend Anderson Silva’s record for the longest winning streak. Adesanya put in a competitive effort and looked set to win by decision when Pereira unleashed a flurry of punches to score a standing TKO finish.

Following Pereira’s crowning as the new 185-pound king, company president Dana White hinted that an immediate rematch for the title was not out of the question.

In a recent interview with Middle Easy’s James Lynch, former UFC fighter Kevin Lee shared his thoughts on Pereira giving Adesanya the first middleweight loss of his MMA career.

“My heart goes out for (Adesanya). It was kind of like one of those heartbreaking losses, especially when I feel like he was winning the fight. I think everyone feels like the fight is going well and having it happen at the end is kind of heartbreaking.

“I like that they have a rematch. I don’t like picking a fighter to earn an immediate rematch, especially if there’s a TKO or KO loss. My heart would always be with Izzy but I’m having a hard time see him going any other way, especially if it’s really fast. If they make it happen in January or February, I don’t think that’s enough recovery time. He needs time to recover and get his Witts back a bit before they start this fight Obviously he can beat him and I think they will fight again it’s just a matter of time and place and when and where you will do.

Rising prospect Khamzat Chimaev wasted no time calling Pereira after his title win. According to Lee, the Chechen-Swedish grappling expert will likely send the striker maestro, who has only eight professional MMA fights so far.

“Yeah, it would be interesting to see Pereira against Chimaev. I would like Pereira to gain more experience in MMA. He doesn’t have a lot of MMA fights. I know he has a lot of kickboxing fights but it takes someone with a lot of experience to beat someone like Chimaev. You have to be able to stay calm under pressure because you know he’s going to come and put a ton of pressure on you.

“Pereira has the size and the skills to beat him obviously, but I don’t necessarily know if he has the MMA experience yet. I know he’s comfortable with Adesanya because he knows Adesanya very well. and that there’s nothing to worry about. But against fresh new blood like Chimaev, he still has to do more before I can say he’s just going to steamroll him.

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