Israel Adesanya, en route to the Octagon of Saturday
night's Ultimate Fighting Championship for a crucial rematch
with a bitter rival, stopped and put a hand on the shoulder of
Eugene Bareman, his longtime trainer. Bareman pointed to
his head in a gesture that reminded Adesanyi to be smart.
Adesanya convincingly defeated challenger Alex Pereira
last November before Adesanya occasionally lost his 185
pound middleweight belt and a glimmer of invincibility. About
10 minutes later, after another messy exchange, Adesanya
smiled as she stood over him and taunted Pereira, who lay
unconscious on a canvas while his family sobbed in the
seats nearby. Adesanya beat Pereira in the second round of
the U.F.C.287, to an insane, star-studded Miami audience.
With those precise punches, Adesanya regained the
middleweight championship and brought a dose of stability