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UFC 281 results: Biggest winners, loser from ‘Adesanya vs. Pereira’ last night

UFC 281 went down last night (Sat., Nov. 12, 2022) inside Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., featuring a Middleweight title fight that saw Alex Pereira dethrone Israel Adesanya from the top of the 185-pound mountain with a technical knockout win in round five (see it again here). In the co-main event, Zhang Weili once again became the women’s Strawweight champion, choking out Carla Esparza in the second round (highlights).

UFC 281: Adesanya v Pereira Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Biggest Winner: Alex Pereira

Being able to say you have three wins over Adesanya is probably going to be something no man will ever be able to say ... unless his name is Alex Pereira. “Poatan” once again scored a huge win over “The Last Stylebender” after going 2-0 against him in the kickboxing arena. And much like their second fight, the towering Brazilian scored a late knockout win after losing the majority of the fight. But, this win is obviously the biggest of the three because Pereira is now the Middleweight champion in the biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization on the planet, and he did it just four fights into his UFC career — two fights quicker than it took Adesanya to taste UFC gold. Now, Pereira begins his run as 185-pound champion, which could very well mean an instant rematch against Adesanya is very realistic.

UFC 281: Adesanya v Pereira Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Runner (s) Up: Dustin Poirier and Zhang Weili

These are pretty obvious. Weili once against claimed the 115-pound title with a blistering performance over the now-former division queenpin, Carla Esparza, choking her out in round two to become champion 19 months after coughing up the strap. Five of her last six fights have been title fights, which means “Magnum” is always going to be in the championship picture, though I’m sure getting some revenge on Rosa Namajunas – who has beaten her twice before – is something she’d love to do at some point.

Poirier, meanwhile, weathered the storm on more than one occasion to earn a huge win over the always-entertaining Michael Chandler, first in the opening round by taking some of “Iron’s” biggest shots, clearing the cobwebs to nearly put him out in the closing moments. In the second frame, “The Diamond” was dominated on the ground for the duration of the round until he turned the tide in round three after an over-aggressive takedown from Chandler. Indeed, the former Bellator Lightweight champion got a bit overzealous when he took Poirier to the mat, allowing him to slip out and ultimately take his back to score the rear-naked choke. While it’s already been announced that Alexander Volkanovski will get first crack at Islam Makhachev, Poirier is sitting pretty if he opts to wait for a shot at the title against the winner.

UFC 281: Adesanya v Pereira Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Biggest Loser: Israel Adesanya

Once again, Adesanya found himself on the receiving end of a knockout loss at the hands of Pereira in a fight he was winning. That’s what perhaps make it a tougher pill to swallow for “The Last Stylebender,” knowing he was a couple minutes away from getting his much-desired revenge on a man who has beaten him twice before. And it doesn’t help to know that he was just a few seconds from putting away “Poatan” in the first round before his foe was saved by the bell. The loss is Adesanya’s first in the Middleweight division and just the second in his UFC career. Now, he will have to somehow try to get past the fact that Pereira simply has his number. On the bright side, since Adesanya had been so dominant in the 185-pound weight class with five defenses in two years, an instant rematch is all but certain.

For complete UFC 281 results and coverage click here.

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