Alex Pereira stuns Israel Adesanya by TKO to assert UFC title

NEW YORK — Alex Pereira had Israel Adesanya’s quantity in kickboxing. And he has it in MMA, too.

Pereira, the one man to ever knock out Adesanya, stopped him once more through TKO at 2 minutes, 1 second of the fifth and remaining spherical Saturday evening in the principle occasion of UFC 281 at Madison Sq. Backyard. With the victory, Pereira received the UFC middleweight title in simply his fourth struggle with the promotion. Adesanya was the champion since 2019.

Adesanya had been successful the struggle till the ultimate sequence, with Pereira firing a barrage of punches with Adesanya damage towards the cage. Referee Marc Goddard stepped in to cease it after a flurry of left hooks and proper palms.

The 2 fought twice earlier than in kickboxing with Pereira successful each instances, the newest a 2017 knockout of Adesanya.

Coming in, ESPN had Adesanya ranked No. 2 on its pound-for-pound record of finest MMA fighters. At middleweight, Adesanya was No. 1 and Pereira was ranked No. 7.

Pereira (7-1) knocked out Sean Strickland within the first spherical at UFC 276 in July to earn the title shot. The Brazilian slugger has six KO/TKOs in seven profession MMA victories and is 4-0 within the UFC. Pereira, 35, is a former Glory Kickboxing middleweight and light-weight heavyweight champion.

Adesanya (23-2) had received three straight fights and was undefeated at middleweight coming into this bout. His solely profession loss earlier than this was in a light-weight heavyweight title struggle final yr towards Jan Blachowicz. The Nigerian-born New Zealand resident had 5 profitable middleweight title defenses following a win over Whittaker to earn the belt in October 2019. Adesanya, 33, was coming off a unanimous determination win over Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 in July.