NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Pereira has Israel Adesanya’s quantity in any fight sport — make it 3-0, and now the Brazilian knockout artist additionally has his rival’s UFC middleweight championship.
Pereira fought again out from a gradual begin and rocked Adesanya within the fifth spherical to attain the TKO win and declare the 185-pound championship in the primary occasion of UFC 281 on Saturday night time at Madison Sq. Backyard.
The 35-year-old Pereira defeated Adesanya twice — as soon as by knockout — of their previous kickboxing days and that bought the challenger fast-tracked to a title match after simply three UFC fights.
His speedy rise to the title had the Backyard crowd going wild as Pereira tagged Adesanya with a vicious proper that despatched the champion into the cage. Adesanya, the Nigeria-born, New Zealand-raised fighter slumped towards the cage and Pereira went for the ending blows however the referee stopped the bout at 2:01 within the fifth.
Knocked at occasions for his methodical fashion, the 31-year-old Adesanya (23-2) bought the MSG crowd on his aspect as soon as he clobbered Pereira with a pounding proper after which a quick left hand to the face that ended the primary spherical and despatched the challenger reeling. T
Attempting to shake off the beating, Pereira stood and beckoned followers to get louder as he waited for the bell to sign the second.
He raised his arms once more to the gang, solely in victory.
Adesanya’s loss snapped his 12-fight win streak at middleweight, just one shy of Anderson Silva’s division document.
Zhang Weili gained the 115-belt for a second time and UFC’s first Chinese language champion made fast work towards Carla Esparza with a rear bare choke submission at 1:05 of the second spherical.
Zhang (23-3) patted her championship belt after UFC President Dana White wrapped it round her waist contained in the octagon. Zhang solely efficiently defended the championship as soon as throughout her first championship reign. She beat Jéssica Andrade in 2019 and gained a choice towards Joanna Jedrzejczyk earlier than she suffered consecutive losses to Rose Namajunas.
Again within the title image, Zhang didn’t disappoint and capped the victory with a cartwheel.
Esparza (20-7) was a two-time champion.
Former UFC light-weight champion Frankie Edgar misplaced the ultimate bout of his MMA profession when he was dropped by Chris Gutierrez at 2:01 of the primary spherical of their struggle. The 41-year-old Edgar absorbed a flying knee to the top for a brutal KO loss in his final time within the cage in a profession that began in 2005. Gutierrez and Edgar had a protracted embrace after the spectacular end within the 135-pound struggle that quieted one other packed crowd at MSG.
A Toms River, New Jersey native, Edgar completed his profession at 24-11-1 general and 18-11-1 within the UFC.
Edgar entered the night time with a UFC-record 7 hours, 55 minutes and 9 seconds of whole struggle time. His 1,799 vital strikes had been second-best, and 73 takedowns had been fourth on the profession listing. He held the light-weight championship for almost two years from 2010 to 2012.
“Women and gentleman, that is the ultimate struggle of his illustrious Corridor of Fame profession,” octagon announcer Bruce Buffer bellowed to a roaring crowd.
The intros to a Backyard filled with A-listers that included Sylvester Stallone, Halle Berry, Miles Teller and Mike Tyson had been about so long as the struggle.
“I’ve bought my household right here,” a crestfallen Edgar mentioned. “That’s all that issues.”
Dustin Poirier made Michael Chandler faucet within the third spherical of bloody slugfest that despatched the gang right into a frenzy. Poirier slapped on the rear bare choke to cease a frenetic match that had each fighters seemingly on the point of victory — the official scorecards had the struggle even coming into the third spherical — on a number of events. Within the second spherical, Chandler had blood flowing from his nostril like an open faucet as he mounted Poirier. Poirier complained blood leaked into his eyes and he advised the referee that Chandler caught fingers in his mouth and pulled his head again.
“He was a bit of bit extra sturdy than I assumed he could be,” Poirier mentioned. “I assumed if I harm him, I used to be going to place him away.”
A KO couldn’t cease this one. Poirier ran his document to 21-6 in UFC with the submission end whereas Chandler dropped to 2-3 for the reason that former Bellator light-weight champion left for UFC in 2020. Poirier grew to become the sixth fighter in UFC historical past to win no less than 21 fights,
The cardboard fell on the twenty ninth anniversary of the primary Final Combating Championship occasion held in Denver and 6 years to the day of the primary UFC card at Madison Sq. Backyard. New York grew to become the ultimate state to legalize blended martial arts playing cards and that opened the door to a few of the richest playing cards in UFC historical past at each MSG and Barclays Middle in Brooklyn.
UFC Corridor of Famer Royce Gracie gained three fights that night time in Denver in a no-rules event that was simply the beginning for an organization that now stands as the worldwide chief in MMA.
“3 fights in a single night time, No time restrict, No weight division, No gloves, No guidelines,” Gracie posted on Instagram.
A fan favourite, Edgar has seen the evolution of UFC as a lot as any fighter since his 2007 debut within the firm. UFC has one yr left on a $1.5 billion, five-year cope with ESPN that appeared as inconceivable in 2007 as a lot because it did in 1993.
Now look, Zhang is wildly fashionable and a key determine in MMA’s rising significance in China, Hollywood stars mug for the cameras on the greatest occasions and the corporate’s try at ballooning right into a billion-dollar endeavor was a smash hit.