Isreal Adesanya once again lost to Alex Pereira and this time lost his UFC middleweight title to the Brazilian in the main event of UFC 281 on Saturday Night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Pereira (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) was down on the scorecards and had to rally from behind to score a standing TKO victory over Adesanya (23-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) at exactly 2:01 of the final round.
Both fighters met during their kick-boxing days with Pereira emerging victorious in two of those occasions. The first ended a controversial unanimous decision back in 2016. However, the second win was much more decisive, a highlight reel knockout victory in 2017 and now, he has added a another stoppage win to their head to head record.
Both fighters had a magnificent workouts and as usual Adesanya came out with his usual comic vibe. Everything delighted the fans. The first round was more of a feeling out period filled with leg kicks and both fighters struggling to figure their range. However towards the end of the first round, Adesanya landed a huge combination that buckled Pereira’s legs.
Pereira came back stronger in the second round, pressured the champion throughout the round and even scored a takedown, instigating a roar from the surprised crowd. Adesanya bounced back in the third, turned the fight into a grappling contest and made the aggressive Pereira pay. His dominance was maintained and taken into the fourth round.
Pereira came back fighting strong in the final round, pressured the UFC champion with a sense of urgency, possibly because of being down on the scorecards. A legkick stunned Adesanya left him backed up. He managed to regain himself but was put at the end of a barrage of power punches.
Adesanya was back up against the cage, battered buy those punches but tried to dodge and weave those punches but the referee Marc Goddard came in to stop the fight. He initially protested the stoppage but afterwards didn’t really care about the decision.
Pereira picked up his first MMA title after just eight professional career fights. His arrival in the promotion was promoted based on his previous relationship with Adesanya but he has also been able to blow through every fighter place before him by the UFC and now defeated the star of the promotion.
Adesanya, saw his six fight winning streak snapped with the loss. His first loss at middleweight and ends his consecutive title defence at five. Pereira however, won his fourth straight fight in the promotion with Andreas Michailidis, Bruno Silva, and Sean Strickland all in the trail before Adesanya.
UFC 281 Full Fight Card Results, Links To Highlights And Recap – Israel Adesanya Vs Alex Pereira