UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira took place Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (23-2) took on Alex Pereira (7-1) in the main event on the night’s main card. The fight aired live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
Catch the video highlights below.
For more on Adesanya vs. Pereira, check out the live blog from MMA Fighting’s Alexander K. Lee.
Pereira charges across the cage with a jumping front kick to start that Izzy sidesteps. Izzy in southpaw, Pereira in orthodox. And both men kicking and checking immediately.
Izzy is on the outside early as Pereira walks him down, flashing the lead hand. Both me active with low kicks. Some checks from both though. Neither committing too much other than the kicks. Pereira lands a couple good ones and then goes high.
Izzy starts coming forward now. He’s feinting a lot, but Pereira isn’t biting. Yet, at least. Izzy goes high with a kick that’s blocked. We’re seeing patient kickboxing here. And Izzy lands a stinging right hand counter to a low kick that stumbles Pereira back. Not huge, but caught him at the right time. First blood for the champion.
Pereira walking Izzy down now and chipping with that low kick. Left hook from Pereira misses. Izzy slips a head kick, but Pereira has Izzy back against the fence. Izzy gets his own leg kick to land, and then goes high. He’s using that high kick to back Pereira off the pressure. Pereira returns fire with his own but Izzy blocks. And kicks low. And then gets one into the body.
Pereira swings a right hand, Izzy looks for a counter, both come up just short. Pereira really crowding Izzy now and lands a good kick to the body. Izzy low kick. Pereira staying in Izzy’s grill. And lands another body kick. Just misses a hook. And then a jumping knee as Izzy pivots.
Short time and we’ve got a body lock from Adesanya as Pereira stepped in. He looks to drag Pereira down but Pereira is too strong, he turns Izzy to the cage and rips some big shots to the body. Izzy turns him to the cage and then gets him off.
Short time and Izzy lands a right hand to the temple! Pereira hurt bad but the horn sounds! Izzy lands another big shot after the buzzer. Pereira in a BAD way. He was still standing but he might be severely compromised.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Adesanya.
Izzy may well have gained an advantage from that second shot that landed after the horn, but Pereira recovers well in the corner. And he’s on the march early in this round, he’s got Izzy to the fence immediately.
Pereira misses with a hook and a spinning kick. Izzy has his back right on the cage but lands a good left hand. Izzy doing a great job of hand-fighting in this spots though, which is disrupting Pereira’s offense.
Izzy chips with some kicks and sticks a sharp jab. He’s finding a home for that now. Pereira lands a nasty jab, and then another. Izzy dancing a little along the fence and Pereira getting some shots in. Then we get a clinch.
Pereira lands a chopping shot inside and Izzy turns him. He’s got and underhook and drops for a takedown but Pereira is able to stave it off. Izzy keeps the clinch. He then breaks and lands a nasty right hand on the break that backs Pereira up.
Pereira right back on top though, keeping Izzy against the fence. And Pereira lands a jab to a left hook. Izzy getting caught lazy right now. And he can’t pivot off that well. Jab sends Izzy back, and Pereira lands a knee. Izzy clinches and turns him to the cage. Pereira trying to put punches into Izzy but eating some knees here. Pereira is strong but doesn’t have the technique to get out or here.
They finally break and Pereira is right back on the attack. Goes with a head kick that just gets blocked. Izzy fires a big counter and he’s starting to look uncomfortable. Short time and Pereira shoots a double and gets it! No time to do anything with it but got the takedown with relative ease.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Pereira, 19-19 overall.
Both me look fresh for the third round, and it begins with Izzy taking the center and Pereira circling. Not for long though. Pereira owns the center.
Izzy flashing kicks early but nothing landing. Izzy back to the center and he lands a big right hand. When he’s getting Pereira backing up, he’s having a ton of success. Pereira trying to get it back now though and Izzy nearly clips him with a big counter.
Pereira gets too aggressive and they clinch in the center and Izzy gets the takedown! Izzy with a rear waistlock and he’s looking to take the back! Pereira turtling, trying to get to the fence to power up, but Izzy staying on him. Izzy landing a few shots and he’s got one hook in, with wrist control. Pereira trying to get up but cannot. Izzy starting to get some shots in here.
Pereira doesn’t have the tools to get out here. Izzy staying heavy on him. Pereira finally trying to get up but Izzy hits a mat-return. D-1 Adesanya!
Izzy tries to drag him back to back control and Pereira could escape but he rolls for a leglock! Not even close but not Izzy is in top, full guard for Pereira but he is looking EXHAUSTED. Grappling between two kickboxers, who would have thought?
Izzy landing some good shots from here. Pereira clearly lost this round and now just hanging on for the horn. Izzy standing now and goes for an ax-kick to the body that gets Pereira to turn over just before the horn.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Adesanya, 29-28 Adesanya overall.
Pereira’s corner tells him desperately to not go to the ground again. Yes. For sure. Both men seem to be in good shape still.
Pereira takes the center again but he’s not backing Izzy up like before. It’s more methodical. Kicks from both men and a lot of lead hand fighting.
Good low kick from the champ. Pereira just misses a left hook. Pereira’s dropped his activity and he eats a right hand. The champ does appear to be in better shape now, but Pereira gets him backed up to the fence and pops the jab. Izzy finding his right hand behind the jab, and he’s upping his volume.
Izzy now pushing Pereira back. Championship experience and cardio coming into play right now. Pereira against the fence but steps out. Izzy fishing for his right hand over the top. He’s coming up JUST short. Soon he won’t. Pereira’s pace has slowed to a crawl and his lead leg looks a little dinged up.
Izzy reaches for a single but gets a body lock and puts Pereira up against the fence. Double underhooks, trying to drag Pereira down. Can’t quite get it, and Pereira lands a couple of knees inside.
Izzy breaks the clinch and lands a right hand, but Pereira returns fire and now he’s stepping on the gas with a minute left. Misses a big left hook and Izzy ducks under to clinch. He’s using the clinch as a safe zone from danger. Smart.
Pereira digging knees and body shots here. Izzy drops to a high crotch single, but can’t finish it. Pereira putting some shots to the body in here and just misses an elbow on the break. Left hook from Pereira glances and a right hand just before the bell.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Adesanya, 39-37 overall.
Pereira’s corner telling him he needs a knockout and that’s probably true. It’s possible he won the 4th, but you can’t bank on that. 5 minutes left.
Adesanya looking fresh as a daisy and Pereira staring daggers. He’s going to leave it all in there this round. Pereira comes forward aggressively and rips a big left hand to the body early. Izzy hand fighting, Pereira charging. He’s going to empty the tank this round.
A clinch and Izzy smothering in here with double unders. They break and Pereira checks a kick that sends Izzy reeling! He falls back over! He’s up and looks like his leg is fine but Pereira in pursuit now.
Pereira closing the distance and he’s unloading!!!! Izzy rolling but he’s eating the shots. He’s eating so many of them.Izzy still on his feet but Pereira DROPPING BOMBS AND ADESANYA IS DONE!!!!!! 5TH ROUND COMEBACK FOR THE NEW CHAMPION