Adesanya (23-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) will look to reclaim his title from Pereira (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) when they run things back in the UFC 287 headliner on April 8 at Miami-Dade Arena.
Adesanya was in control heading into Round 5 of his first MMA fight against Pereira this past November, but “Poatan” was able to find a home for his signature left hook, which led to the finish. Strickland expected Adesanya to play it safe, and after suffering a knockout loss, he sees him employing that strategy and avenging his loss.
“I think Izzy,” Strickland told MMA Junkie. “I thought Izzy was gonna win last time. I thought Izzy’s gonna f*cking dance around like a little f*cking b*tch and outpoint him, and I think he’s gonna man up and do it this fight. That’s the thing: When you’re fighting motherf*ckers that have 80-something-inch reach, that’s a hard thing to do, especially when you’re trying to kickbox.”
He continued, “For me, he (Pereira) had like 8 inches on me. That’s a big f*cking gap. And when he fights Izzy, it’s an even playing field. It’s an even fight. So I think Izzy’s gonna do the right thing and just run and dance, and be a little f*cking b*tch about it.”
Strickland was a victim of Pereira’s left hook when he was knocked out in Round 1 of their UFC 276 fight. He was then edged out by Jared Cannonier in a split decision loss at UFC Fight Night 216, but then rebounded with a short-notice win over Nassourdine Imavov one month later in January.
Strickland is eyeing Paulo Costa next, and if both he and Adesanya can emerge victorious in their next fights, he’d love to get a crack at “The Last Stylebender.”
“I think me and Izzy would be a great fight,” Strickland said. “You guys know that would be a great fight. If I fought Izzy, I’d put my hands up like a f*cking man. I’m going to walk at him like Terminator and see what happens. Luckily he doesn’t hit that hard like the big, f*cking scary Brazilian, but if I fight Izzy, it’s to the death.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 287.