Alex Pereira has now become the new king of the middleweight division after he knocked out Israel Adesanya in the fifth round of their fight at UFC 281 over the weekend. Pereira, who has twice defeated Adesanya before in kickboxing, survived Izzy’s earlier onslaught and held on till the fifth round before delivering his salvo of punches that took the wind out of his opponent’s sail, bringing the fight to an end.
With the win, Pereira ended Adesanya’s three-year reign as the UFC middleweight champion as well as his second MMA defeat and his first in the middleweight division.
Adesanya’s last fight against Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 was criticised for its underwhelming performance, and the former champion had entered UFC 281 hoping to prove his detractors wrong, but things did not go as planned. Pereira, who was fighting in his fourth UFC match, took quite a beating from Adesanya earlier in the fight. For a moment, it looked like Pereira had lost the fight, especially in the second round, when Adesanya scored a takedown and pummeled him with a series of jabs and elbow blows. But Pereira held his ground and waited for the perfect moment to strike, which came in the fifth round.
By the fifth round, Pereira was visibly exhausted, and Adesanya had also become tired. It was then that Pereira launched an attack that ultimately led to his win. Starting with a left hook, which stunned Adesanya, Pereira followed through with more blows until Adesanya could not put up any resistance. Pereira continued until the referee stepped in to prevent Adesanya from getting hurt the more, bringing the fight to a close at the 2:01 mark.
Pereira has now defeated Adesanya three times across two different sports. He now begins his reign as the new middleweight champion after just four fights, and things are looking quite good for him, generally.