Heading into that matchup, I thought Strickland was extremely live to win. I thought he could have success in wrestling exchanges, and I even thought he could compete on the feet. I noted that although Pereira had shown to be extremely accurate in a short sample, I hadn’t loved his defense, and it could still be a spot where he was vulnerable in MMA.
Strickland did not choose to wrestle and got KOd quickly, so I guess I was wrong, but it doesn’t change my opinion entirely on who Pereira is as a fighter. I still think he could be exposed in those same areas based on his previous MMA fights.
Pereira made his UFC debut against Andreas Michailidis, and lost the first round while giving up two takedowns and nearly four minutes of ground/clinch control time. He then knocked Michailidis out with a flying knee early in round two.
Pereira also beat Bruno Silva by decision, showcasing his superior kickboxing skills, though the fight was more competitive than the numbers suggested.
The problem in analyzing this matchup against Adesanya is that Adesanya could arguably be a much better fighter and MMA striker, and lose anyways.
Pereira is likely to be more aggressive here, and obviously he compares quite well to Adesanya technically. He carries more power in his strikes, and we’ve seen Adesanya hurt badly outside of kickboxing too.
There is so much variance in striking exchanges, that it simply would not be a surprise if Pereira landed a hard shot and knocked Adesanya out. I think that outcome is very possible.
How likely is it, is the tougher question, as is whether Pereira has any other paths to victory outside of that KO.
Currently, I have to assume Adesanya holds the majority if win equity outside of a KO loss. I think Adesanya may have a legitimate grappling advantage, and he certainly has superior cardio as well.