For the first time in his decorated UFC career, Israel Adesanya (23-2-0) has lost a fight in the middleweight division, and it was to a familiar foe. On Saturday night at UFC 281, Alex Pereira (7-1-0) picked up a win over Adesanya to unseat him via fifth round TKO as the top dog in the promotion’s middleweight division in front of a packed crowd at Madison Square Garden.
It certainly seemed going into the fifth and final round like all Adesanya needed to do was survive. Despite Pereira taking round two, Adesanya controlled the rest of the fight with the cerebral nature that he’d done in his previous defenses of the middleweight championship.
And then, Pereira started to throw punch after punch with an understanding that he needed a finish. With Adesanya backed against the cage, Pereira’s opportunity came to fruition. He unloaded a series of rights and lefts that stunned the champion, and eventually, the referee stepped in as Adesanya was unable to raise his hands or head to defend himself.
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) November 13, 2022
The only other loss Adesanya suffered in his UFC career came when he moved up to light heavyweight to fight Jan Błachowicz. He had, however, battled and lost to Pereira in the past, with the Brazilian picking up a pair of wins in two kickboxing fights. Now, in his fourth UFC fight, Pereira was able to show he can beat Adesanya yet again, and as a result, he’s the UFC middleweight champion.