In a new YouTube video, Israel Adesanya discloses that he suffered an MCL injury during his preparations for his UFC 287 bout with Alex Pereira.
Israel Adesanya pulled off a spectacular highlight finish in the main event of UFC 287 earlier this month, knocking out and finally defeating his boogeyman, Alex Pereira, to recapture the UFC middleweight championship.
The knockout was even more impressive now that we know that Adesanya was not completely healthy heading into the bout.
In a new video uploaded to YouTube, Adesanya revealed that he entered the Pereira rematch with a grade 1 tear to his MCL. According to "The Last Stylebender," he suffered the injury while defending a takedown during a sparring session 13 days before the fight.
Adesanya added that he suffered some damage to his ankle in the fight camp as well.
Adesanya watches the footage of the moment during the sparring when the injury occurred.
Israel Adesanya shows the moments in training he suffered a grade-1 MCL tear in right knee before UFC 287
"F*** it was painful," Adesanya said. "I remember the feeling as well. It felt hot, like a burning feeling. But this is just mental toughness — mental toughness and adrenaline.
"We're fighters, man. Don't worry. I've been through worse. I've been through some s***."
The win marked the fourth time in his fighting career that Adesanya fought Pereira. Adesanya lost to Pereira twice in kickboxing (once by decision in 2016 and once by KO in 2017) before dropping the middleweight title to him in a comeback finish at UFC 281.
Robert Whittaker and Dricus du Plessis will square off in a middleweight title eliminator at UFC 290 in July. The winner could be next in line for the title due to Pereira's move up to light heavyweight; however, UFC President Dana White has noted Adesanya is looking for as quick a turnaround as possible in spite of the injury.