Quijano: Adesanya’s bogeyman

In the fight world, there’s always that one guy who has your number. No matter how good you are with everyone else, this guy just has you figured out.

He has your number and can do anything he wants with it, including calling you in the middle of the night when you least expect it.

Think Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao dominated several weight divisions as he moved up, even knocking out bigger opponents like Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto.

But with Marquez who was just about his size, it was always competitive.

They faced each other four times, and although the record books will have Manny ahead at two wins, one draw and one loss—that defeat was the most devastating of the Pacman’s career as he was knocked out unconscious for several minutes from a single perfectly placed counter right hand.

You can also invoke Roy Jones Jr. and Antonio Tarver. At the turn of the century, Jones was widely recognized as the best fighter in the world. But he ran into Tarver who gave him a lot of trouble in their first fight and eventually knocked him out in their second encounter.

ADESANYA. At UFC 281, I thought Israel Adesanya would stop Alex Pereira.

Adesanya was favored coming in, and although I declared Pereira to be a live underdog who could score the upset, I still thought the “Style-bender” would figure him out and not let Pereira score another win over him.

For context, remember that Pereira had defeated Adesanya twice before in kickboxing, the last one via knockout.

Heading into the fight, Pereira had insisted that Adesanya was still bothered psychologically by his knockout loss, and as it turned out, Pereira was right on the money.

Adesanya was ahead on the cards in a competitive fight at UFC 281, but Pereira managed to connect with a left hook in the final round and finished the wobbly Adesanya with a flurry of punches.

So it seems like Adesanya has found his bogeyman in Pereira. The talented Adesanya is one of the best in the sport with a skill set most fighters can only dream of.

But he can’t get over the Pereira hump, and until he does, he will have to sort out his personal demons when it comes to his archrival. The only thing beautiful about having an antagonist is that fight fans are ultimately benefited.

You can bet Israel Adesanya will keep on trying. And we will all be there to witness all of that.

VERBATIM. “I don’t know how it’s going to be or how he could possibly erase that from his mind, but I know it’s still there.” - Alex Pereira on knocking out Israel Adesanya previously (www.bloodyelbow.com)

LAST ROUNDS. Are on my sister-in-law Atty Rene Chanco and my kumpares, Roger Lee, lawyer Bong Pepito and architect Lee Villanueva who are all celebrating their birthdays this week. Cheers!