Reigning Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, is out for revenge in UFC 281’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event tonight (Sat., Nov. 12, 2022) inside Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., looking to erase the memory of a pair of kickboxing losses — one of which was a violent knockout — to Alex Pereira. It’s pretty evident that Adesanya possesses the most dynamic striking on UFC’s roster, a counter-punching sniper who seems to have all the crazy angles. Pereira didn’t really earn this title shot with anything he’s done inside the Octagon — he’s had just three fights (and scored two finishes) in little more than one year with the organization. But, his power, precision and rich history with “The Last Stylebender” made this absolutely the 185-pound title fight to make before some wrestler came along and took it off the table.
Make no mistake — this is going to be incredible. And just like Adesanya, we’re done talking ... let’s get down to it!
Live updates will began to flow below the moment the two fighters make their way to the Octagon ...
Pereira, the challenger and No. 4-ranked Middleweight, was the first to make the walk to the cage:
Then it was time for “The Last Stylebender” — serious and locked in — to arrive:
Both fighters weighed in at the division limit, but Pereira was absolutely huge inside the cage. He missed with a low kick ... and the chess match was underway. Low kick exchanges occupied the first 90 seconds, then a high kick from Pereira. Izzy feinting and switching stances, but Pereira doesn’t appear too alarmed. Nice left jab from Izzy, followed by a right hand and Pereira tries to make in-fight adjustments. Low kick from Pereira, then a big left hook that just missed. High kick from Izzy, then an inside leg kick, as Pereira continues to march forward, but offer significant offense ... yet. Pereira tried to trap him in the corner, landing a nice body kick, as Izzy circled out of danger. Nice kick from Pereira, then he just missed with another big left hand upstairs. Izzy with a body lock along the fence with 30 seconds remaining, but Pereira landed some short shots inside. They broke as the round was concluding and Izzy drilled him with a hard right, then a left that had Pereira wobbling back to his corner!
Pereira seemed to clear the cobwebs between rounds, going on the offensive immediately. He landed a nice left to the body as Izzy circled out, drilling him with a low kick on his exit. Pereira starting to chase, touching Izzy with some punches, but none of them were hard or clean. Izzy with a nice jab, which Pereira countered with one of his own. He finally caught Izzy and started to clip him in the corner with hard shots. Izzy reversed position along the fence and actually went in on a single-;eg takedown attempt but abandoned quickly, drilling him with a hard shot on the break. Pereira cornered him again and landed another hard shot, then they exchanged jabs before clinching along the fence once again. Body punches from Pereira, knees from Izzy, who was looking for a trip, but it didn’t materialize. High kick connected flush, but Izzy didn’t seem fazed. Then Pereira scored a takedown at the buzzer!
Inside low kick, then one upstairs, from Izzy to start the third frame. Nice combination from Izzy as Pereira tried to back him into the fence, where he has had his best success. Adesanya then scored a takedown! He tried to take his back, perhaps for a choke, but settled to sit behind him and box his ears. Pereira was on his knees along the cage, with Izzy on his back, drilling him with left hands to the face. Izzy got a hook in as it appeared that Pereira was bleeding from his left ear. Pereira was able to get back to his feet, but Izzy dragged him back down to the floor and rolled for a leg lock? What’s happening. Nice elbow from Pereira, who was still underneath Izzy. Izzy postured up in full guard and landed a sharp elbow followed by a left hand. Izzy got back to his feet with 30 seconds on the clock and nailed him with an axe kick at the buzzer.
Championship rounds, with Izzy likely up two rounds to one for Pereira. Both fighters exchange high kick early, but both were blocked. Nice right hand from Pereira, with Izzy countering with his legs. Nice jab, then right hand from Izzy, as Pereira stalked him. Izzy opened up with punches and kicks, with Pereira’s output dwindling. Left jab, overhand right from Izzy, while Pereira hasn’t done much midway through the round. Izzy mushed him up against the cage, with Pereira landing some short knees to his midsection. Big right hand from Izzy on the break. Pereira seemed to have a wide open kill shot, but was perhaps too tired to uncork it. More clinching with less than one minute remaining, with Izzy just missing with a violent standing elbow.
Between rounds, Pereira’s corner informed him that he needed a finish. And perhaps that’s the reason he took off round four. Izzy got the action started with a low kick, with Pereira countering with a left jab ... then a stiff right hand down the middle. Izzy initiated another clinch along the fence, with Pereira firing off a monster low kick. Izzy checked it, but he went tumbling backward Pereira buried his fist in Izzy’s bread basket. Izzy didn’t seem right and Pereira pounced, unleashing wild strikes along the fence that had the champion in bad shape. Izzy tried to bob and weave, but he seemed like he was out on his feet after a big uppercut followed by a monster left hand. Izzy never went down, but it was only a matter of time.
Izzy had it in the bag until he didn’t ... wow.
Final result: Pereira def. Adesanya via technical knockout in round five — WATCH HIGHLIGHTS!
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