In the main event of UFC 281, Alex Pereira defeated Israel Adesanya via technical knockout in the fifth round to win the middleweight championship and end Adesanya’s run as the champion on Sunday morning.
Adesanya put on a nearly flawless performance. At the end of Round 1, he had Pereira standing up, but the Brazilian returned the favor in Round 5 to snag it.
Adesanya sought retribution for losing two kickboxing matches to Pereira in 2016 and 2017.
Adesanya, 33, began the battle cautiously, like he usually does, but towards the conclusion of the first round, he managed to knock Pereira out.
Adesanya delivered a powerful punch that knocked Pereira to the ground just before the first round came to a conclusion.
Pereira dominated “The Last Stylebender” in the second round and successfully executed the takedown to tie the judges’ score.
The Nigerian was eliminated by Pereira in the fifth round. When he slipped in the center of the octagon, Adesanya was probably leading three rounds to one according to the scorecards.
He made an effort to become better, but it was too late. Pereira pursued Adesanya as he made his way to the fence and repeatedly punched him in the face, shocking him and almost knocking him out.
Adesanya’s body became slack, and the fight was stopped by referee Marc Goddard, but Adesanya appealed the decision while trying to gather himself.
The outcome puts an end to Adesanya’s six-defend title reign and almost certainly calls for a rematch soon.