In a recent UFC 287 title fight rematch, Alex Pereira faced a devastating knockout by Israel Adesanya. The outcome of this fight has raised concerns about Pereira’s future in the sport. Firas Zahabi, the head coach of Tristar Gym, has expressed his belief that this knockout could potentially have career-ending implications for Pereira. Drawing comparisons to past fighters who suffered similar defeats, Zahabi suggests that Pereira may struggle to regain his dominance in the Octagon. Let’s delve into the details surrounding this fight and the potential ramifications for Pereira’s career.

The Knockout Blow

During the second round of their title fight at UFC 287 in Miami, Israel Adesanya delivered a powerful blow that resulted in Pereira being knocked out cold. Firas Zahabi, a respected figure in the MMA community, believes that the manner in which Pereira fell and the subsequent impact of the knockout could be a turning point in his career. Zahabi draws parallels to Jose Aldo’s quick knockout loss to Conor McGregor, which had a lasting impact on Aldo’s performance in subsequent fights.

The Potential Career Impact

Zahabi emphasizes the significance of a knockout defeat and its potential long-term effects on a fighter. Referring to Georges St-Pierre’s TKO victory over B.J. Penn, Zahabi highlights the profound impact that such a beating can have on a fighter’s abilities. Based on this premise, Zahabi expresses concern that Pereira may struggle to regain his former self after experiencing such a devastating knockout.

Pereira’s Performance and Adesanya’s Tactics

Prior to the knockout, Pereira had showcased his skills, particularly with his effective leg kicks. He had even managed to put Adesanya on the defensive, backing him against the cage. However, Adesanya’s counter right strike proved to be the turning point, initiating the sequence that led to Pereira’s defeat. Adesanya claims that he was intentionally baiting Pereira, but Zahabi argues that Adesanya was in a precarious position before landing the decisive blow.

A Missed Opportunity for a Trilogy Bout

Zahabi expresses disappointment that a potential trilogy bout between Pereira and Adesanya may never come to fruition. Pereira has recently announced his intention to move to the light heavyweight division for his next fight, effectively closing the door on a potential rematch. While Zahabi had hoped to witness a continuation of their rivalry, it seems that fans will be deprived of this opportunity.


The knockout suffered by Alex Pereira at the hands of Israel Adesanya has left many questioning the future trajectory of Pereira’s career. Firas Zahabi, among others, believes that such a knockout could have long-lasting effects on a fighter’s performance and potential for future success. While Pereira showcased his skills and had moments of dominance in the fight, the devastating blow from Adesanya ultimately determined the outcome. As Pereira looks ahead to his next challenge in the light heavyweight division, only time will tell if he can overcome the psychological and physical repercussions of this career-altering defeat.