Eugene Bareman, the head coach for Israel Adesanya, recently talked with Submission Radio ahead of UFC 281.
Adesanya, the reigning UFC middleweight champion, defends his title against Alex Pereira in the main event. The card takes place live on ESPN+ pay-per-view from Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Pereira holds two wins over Adesanya, but those came in the kickboxing arena.
“I mean, look, the benefit of being so far ahead of the rest of the field in a particular skillset is you can concentrate your effort on another really narrow skillset,” Bareman said. “And what I’m meaning is like, obviously when Israel got into UFC, he was so good at standup, he could divert a lot of his time into his wall defense and wrestling defense, because he already was very, very good at standup.
“Well, Alex essentially has the same issue. It’s not really an issue, it’s a positive thing, right? Alex is so far ahead of everybody else in this field at standup, he can concentrate all his efforts on things like takedown defense and wall defense and all of that.
“So, you get this massive concentrated in effort that your other opponents aren’t able to do because they’ve gotta spread their time more evenly. What it means is you become very good at one thing. So, I just think that is the benefit of these elite, elite strikers coming into MMA, is that they can concentrate the effort on takedown defense.
“So, I don’t think Israel’s gonna have an easy time taking Pereira down, nor do I think if Pereira decides to switch the game plan, which would be smart from a standup battle to a takedown, nor do I think Pereira is gonna have a very easy time getting Israel down. So, the way I see it is, I think this will probably just be a standup battle.”