Chuck Liddell doesn’t expect Israel Adesanya to make it past the third round at UFC 287: “I’m thinking that he’s going to end it in three”

By Lewis Simpson - April 6, 2023

Chuck Liddell doesn’t expect Israel Adesanya to surpass the third round in his UFC 287 headliner with Alex Pereira.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion Liddell has spent some time with the current middleweight champion ahead of his rematch with Adesanya.

Pereira and Adesanya will close the show in the UFC 287 main event on April 8 at the Miami-Dade Arena in Miami, Florida. Pereira has the mental edge leading into the pair’s fourth combat sports encounter, having attained two wins over Adesanya in kickboxing and once in MMA.

In the first MMA contest at UFC 281 last November, Adesayna was cruising his way to a unanimous decision victory. Still, Pereira hit the then-title-holder with an onslaught of devasting blows, resulting in the contest being stopped late in the fifth round.

Liddell, who has helped Pereira prepare, was eager to rub some of his knowledge off in the wrestling department and credits the Brazilian for absorbing the information well.

Chuck Liddell weighs in on UFC 287 headliner

“He’s doing great. I had a few things I wanted to help him with, things that I could add maybe and see if he liked them for some of the wrestling stuff,” said Liddell. “I thought he picked it up well. I’m looking forward to see him maybe use one of them, but I don’t know. He’s looking sharp, so I don’t know if we’ll get a chance to see that.”

Given that Adesanya has failed to defeat Pereira on three separate occasions, Liddell feels the mental factor may be too much for Adesanya to cope with on fight night and doesn’t see him making it into the championship rounds.

“I think it’s going to be tough, I mean he’s lost to him, how many times has he lost to him now,” said Liddell. That’s stuck in the guy’s head and it wasn’t too long ago. I’m thinking that he’s going to end it in three.”

Potential move to heavyweight for Pereira

Given the sheer size of Pereira, he has teased a move to light heavyweight and heavyweight in the past, and Liddell thinks he would make an effortless transition to a new weight division.

“He’s got the size if he really wants to put it on, if he decides to not cut anymore and go up. He’s big enough. His body can carry the weight. I think he could make that transition,” Liddell said. He’s strong. He’s strong for a 185 pounder, the body size and he hits hard. He hits hard for a 205 pounder.”

Quotes via MMA Weekly

On Sunday morning, the landscape of the UFC middleweight division could be very interesting, depending on the fight’s outcome.

Do you agree with the comments from Chuck Liddell? Let us know in the comments!


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