Israel Adesanya’s reign as UFC middleweight champion came to a brutal end at the hands of Alex Pereira. The Last Stylebender renewed his rivalry with the Glory double champ early on Sunday morning in the main event of UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The pair fought twice before in the kickboxing worldCredit: GLORYAdesanya, 33, went into the penultimate pay-per-view main event of the year looking to avenge the brutal knockout loss he suffered to Pereira in his final kickboxing bout five years ago. But the same fate befell him in the fifth round front of a sold-out crowd at The World’s Most Famous Arena.
Adesanya was likely up on the scorecards, three rounds to one, when he slipped in the middle of the octagon. He tried to recover but it was the beginning of the end. As Adesanya retreated to the fence, Pereira followed and peppered him with punches to the face, stunning him and nearly knocking him unconscious. Referee Marc Goddard ended the fight as Adesanya’s body went limp, though Adesanya protested the stoppage as he attempted to regain his composure.
It’s Adesanya’s first loss in the middleweight division and only his second loss in mixed martial arts.