Israel Adesanya has been gifted an Everton jersey signed by Nigerian midfielder, Alex Iwobi, ahead of his UFC middleweight title defence against former kickboxing rival Alex Pereira.
‘The Last Stylebender’ is looking to avenge two losses he suffered in kickboxing to Pereira who famously knocked him out so badly in 2017 that he needed an oxygen mask.
Five years later, Adesanya is the undisputed 185lb king and one of the biggest names in MMA after amassing an impressive 20 wins during his 21-fight pro career.
Pereira only left kickboxing behind for good in 2020 but has already earned himself a middleweight title shot after stretching his record to 6-1 with a first-round knockout win over Sean Strickland at UFC 276.
Ahead of the most highly anticipated fight of his life, Adesanya received a thoughtful gift from UFC flyweight contender Molly McCann who is a massive Everton fan.
In a video posted to her Instagram page, the MMA fighter can be seen handing over a signed Everton top to Adesanya and explaining it is signed by his fellow Nigerian Iwobi.
McCann said: “I got you Alex Iwobi. So, he’s from your Nigerian soccer team and I got him to sign you that… I just thought a brother from where I am from supporting you.”
The two UFC stars embraced before going their separate ways and continuing to prepare to put on a show at the MMA leader’s latest pay-per-view event.
Iwobi took to his official Instagram story on Thursday, to pen a message to the Nigerian-New Zealander as well as McCann on his story with a caption that read; “All love! Goodluck with your fights. @meatbolly @stylebender.”
The Super Eagles star will return to action for The Toffees on Saturday when they face Bournemouth, in their final game before the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, later this month.
Adesanya knows what he’s up against and isn’t likely to take any big risks against Pereira’s powerful attacks. Adesanya may have three times as many MMA fights under his belt than does his opponent, but Pereira obviously knows how his opponent fights.