Pereira Stops Adesanya Late to Win UFC Middleweight Crown

Pereira Stops Adesanya Late to Win UFC Middleweight Crown
History repeated itself Saturday night in New York as Alex Pereira again came from behind to knockout Israel Adesanya, this time capturing the middleweight title in the process at UFC 281. Pereira had been the only man to ever stop Adesanya in a professional fight scoring a knockout in a 2017 kickboxing match.

But competing in only his fourth UFC bout, Pereira's inexperience seemed to be on display for much of the fight. Adesanya proved an elusive target throughout as he mixed his punches and kicks well. When the pair clinched and went to the mat in the third round, Adesanya wound up on top controlling the action for the whole round as Pereira struggled in unfamiliar territory. Exhausted by the groundwork Pereira's output slowed to a crawl in the fourth.

The champion appeared to be in control to start the fifth when the challenger suddenly leapt in with the same left hook that KO'd Adesanya back in 2017. Adesanya was rocked as Pereira followed with a right uppercut then unleashed a barrage of punches that battered him until the referee stopped the action.

The co-main event saw Weili Zhang regain the women's strawweight title by submitting Carla Esparza with a rear choke in the second round.

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