Alex Pereira turned the undisputed middleweight UFC champion on Saturday, defeating Israel Adesanya on a technical knock-out in entrance of a sold-out Madison Sq. Gardens in New York.
It was a shocking come-from-behind victory with Pereira, competing in simply his fourth UFC combat and eighth general MMA combat, billed because the underdog in opposition to Adesanya who was making an attempt to win a report sixth consecutive title protection.
And for a lot of the combat, it appeared as if Adesanya would obtain that report with Pereira languishing behind on the judges’ scorecards till the ultimate spherical.
However the Brazilian rallied and hit Adesanya with a flurry of pictures within the fifth spherical to pressure a referee stoppage and a TKO victory.
“I’m very happy,” Pereira stated afterwards, in accordance the UFC web site. “It was a superb work. And I’m not simply saying from after I entered the Group however every little thing I’ve been doing to get right here.
“And what I did to be here getting the belt. It was very difficult. I had to overcome some tough opponents but I did it.”
The 2 males had met twice beforehand in kickboxing earlier than they joined the UFC. Pereira had gained each bouts, turning into the one man to ever knock out Adesanya.
Adesanya landed the primary decisive blow of the evening with a one-two that had Pereira reeling nevertheless it got here within the last seconds of the primary spherical, permitting the 35-year-old to recuperate for the subsequent spherical.
And the defending champion’s onslaught continued within the subsequent three rounds, leaving Adesanya forward on all three judges’ scorecards going into the fifth and last spherical.
Conscious that he wanted to seek out the end within the fifth spherical, Pereira unleashed all his energy and Adesanya in the end couldn’t provide a response.
In the meantime, within the co-main occasion, Zhang Weili gained the ladies’s strawweight Championship, the second title of her profession, by defeating Carla Esparaza by submission with a rear-naked choke within the second spherical.
“Today is like a dream come true. Ever since I lost the belt, I’ve dreamt of this moment,” she stated afterwards, in line with the BBC.