Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya | Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
Israel Adesanya was five minutes away from another successful title defense. Then it all came crashing down.
In the main event of UFC 281, Adesanya defended his middleweight championship against nemesis Alex Pereira. After four rounds, it looked as though “The Last Stylebender” would finally avenge two previous kickboxing losses to Pereira via a judges’ decision, but Pereira unleashed a brutal flurry of punches to earn a fifth-round stoppage.
Ahead of Round 5, Adesanya was leading on all three judges’ scorecards.
See the official scorecard here:
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Judges Eric Colon, Sal D’Amato, and Mike Bell all agreed that Adesanya won Rounds 1, 3, and 4 by a score of 10-9 and that he was ahead in the fight 39-37.
However, the cards weren’t needed in the end, as Pereira knocked out Adesanya for the second time in their combat sports rivalry. Just four fights into his UFC career, Pereira is now the promotion’s undisputed middleweight champion.