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[LIVE] UFC 281: Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira starts

Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira

Israel Adesanya’s middleweight title defense against Alex Pereira in the UFC 281 main event at Madison Square Garden is about to begin, as the champion looks to avenge two kickboxing defeats to his challenger.

Pereira who comes into this highly anticipated trilogy of sorts as the underdog despite holding wins over the champion makes his run-up to the ring at 6:20am on Sunday with a Brazilian native song serenading the arena.

Pereira is on a six-fight win streak and five of his six wins are all knockouts.

The 35-year-old is a former two-weight kickboxing champion, with incredible power in his striking.

Middleweight champion Adesanya makes his walk into the ring fully focused. No theatrics this time, Adesanya looks completely determined to win against Pereira this time around.

The Nigerian is has 23 wins in mixed martial arts, with the 33-year-old’s sole loss having come while challenging for light heavyweight gold last year.


Pereira comes straight out with a jumping front kick! He barely misses.

Low kick from Adesanya. Lots of feints from the champion. The arena is strangely quiet and the champ looks intensely focused in the Octagon.

Another leg kick from Adesanya. Pereira now returns the favour, before kicking high. He eats a stern jab, though.

Adesanya just about sees a head kick blocked. Nice counter jab from the champion, then a fierce right cross over the top.

Pereira is falling massively for Adesanya’s feints. The challenger comes forward now, and Adesanya reaches out to grab his gloves.

Pereira with a glancing head kick; Adesanya with a solid low kick, then a body kick.

Pereira kicks to the body, before Adesanya kicks low once more.

Pereira is backing up Adesanya and narrowly misses with a left hook, then a knee!

Adesanya with a firm body lock late in the round, but Pereira lands a number of body punches in there.


Then a left hook on the buzzer, and Pereira almost goes down! WOW!

Round two: Pereira takes stylebender down

The Last Stylebender lands kicks to the legs, then body of Pereira, who marches forward nevertheless.

Brutal left hook to the body from Pereira. He’s trapping Adesanya against the fence.

Pereira blocks a head kick but eats a jab. The fighters grapple against the fence, and Pereira lands a harsh knee that seems to hurt the champion.

Adesanya lifts Pereira slightly! The men separate, then Adesanya connects with a jab and a right cross.

A couple of left hands get through for Pereira! Adesanya circles away.

Pereira backs up Adesanya again and seems to connect with a knee as the champion dips his head to his right.

The fighters grapple then separate, and Pereira lands a head kick! Adesanya absorbs it well!

Pereira shoots for a double-leg takedown and gets it just before the buzzer!

Round three: Adesanya keeps Pereira down

The score is tied at 19-19 after two rounds.

Adesanya comes forward with jabs. A solid one-two from the champion now. He then digs to the body with a right hand.

The Brazilian backs him up, and Adesanya misses with his counter hook.

Adesanya with a body lock and takedown – his first in the UFC! He takes Pereira’s back!!

Each man lands an elbow. A left hand gets through for Adesanya.

The champion stands but refuses to let Pereira up.

Pereira kicks from the mat, but Adesanya scoots around the Brazilian’s legs and drops onto his rival with a hammer of a right hand!

A great round for the Nigerian.

Round four: Adesanya leads 3-1

Pereira blocks a head kick as the champion goes into attack again.

Adesanya scores with a jab, then a right straight. Pereira responds by backing up the “Last Stylebender”.

Good head movement from Adesanya, not for the first time tonight. He kicks the body, then the legs, then the head. Adesanya is gaining confidence.

Now he backs up from Pereira.

Twice Adesanya feints for takedowns. He then grabs Pereira with a body lock and drives him to the cage wall.

Pereira throws a number of punches to the body. Adesanya lets go of Pereira then wings a right hook at the challenger’s head. Pereira narrowly misses with a heavy punch.

Another round in the bank for Adesanya, who narrowly evades a right hook on the buzzer.

Pereira needs a knockout to win this!

Round five: Pereira knocks Adesanya out

Adesanya kicks to the body. Forward comes Pereira. Short hooks connect for Adesanya.
Pereira checks a leg kick and Adesanya rolls back onto the mat then back up! How badly hurt is the champion??
He seems to be okay… He rolls with a couple of right hands, but Pereira starts to connect with left hooks and uppercuts, and THE FIGHT IS STOPPED AGAINST THE FENCE!


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