While Israel Adesanya was quick to pay tribute to Alex Pereira for defeating him at UFC 281 (for the third time), ‘The Last Stylebender’ thinks he could have continued if the referee of service, Marc Goddard, had let the fight continue.
But not everyone shares the “Izzy” sentiment, including longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) trainer Firas Zahabi, who says Goddard stepped in at the right time because he could -to be saved Adesanya’s career.
“Pereira very likely could have ended Adesanya’s career if the referee hadn’t intervened,” Zahabi said on his YouTube channel (via MMA Junkie). “Guys, if the ref didn’t intervene, a scissor knee would happen. Guys, the biggest scissor knee I’ve ever seen in any combat sport is Alex Pereira,” a- he added.
“It’s an incredible knee from a giant, which is incredibly explosive. He throws it incredibly fast. I thought when Adesanya was dazed like that, the knee would come. If Marc Goddard hadn’t intervened, he could have s whether it was a severe concussion, a broken jaw, a broken eye socket or even a fractured skull. It could have been anything that ruined or ended Adesanya’s professional career. So I’m very grateful to Marc Goddard for stopping him.
Still, Zahabi – who was Georges St-Pierre’s long-time coach – credits Adesanya for his game plan, which almost brought him victory.
“Adesanya fought beautifully,” Zahabi said. “Awesome. He was winning three rounds to one. He was losing the first round and came back with an incredible right hook, left hook combination.
The talk around the water cooler is that an instant rematch (or fourth fight) will likely be next, but Adesanya must first serve a two-month medical suspension from the New York State Athletic Commission ( NYSAC) before even thinking about returning to action.
What do you think of Zahabi’s assessment of Goddard’s career-saving decision to call it quits?
For full UFC 281 results and coverage, click here.
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