Israel Adesanya finally took on his long-time kickboxing rival Alex Pereira in the highly-anticipated main event of UFC 281. This PPV was a treat for the fight fans as they saw a lot of stoppage victories and some electrifying bouts.
Both Adesanya and Pereira are known for their elite striking and the main event lived up to the hype. However, Pereira beat Adesanya by TKO in the fifth round of the bout. Adesanya was rocked while he was evading the incoming bombs from Pereira. The referee stopped the fight with 2 minutes 59 seconds remaining in the round and a new champion was crowned at UFC 281.
Israel Adesanya was not too happy with the stoppage as he immediately protested against it. Many MMA fans online also agreed with Adesanya over the controversial stoppage. One fan wrote:
Lowkey and early stoppage considering its israel adesanya pic.twitter.com/lUD4eMrgkz
— John (@iam_johnw) November 13, 2022
Another fan claimed that the stoppage was early and a rematch should happen soon.
Alex Pereira deserves a ton of credit. Stoppage felt a but early, especially considering Israel Adesanya’s clear 3-1 lead.
Expecting a rematch…#UFC281
— Bryan Fonseca 🇵🇷 (@BryanFonsecaNY) November 13, 2022
— SeRiaz (@SeRiaz2) November 13, 2022
Undeserved title shot, weight bully, early stoppage, i hate this dude…
— – Bobbye 🥊🥋 (@mmagulio) November 13, 2022
— Cody Stamann (@CodyStamann) November 13, 2022
That was an early stoppage for a champion.
— Brenden Deeg (@BrendenDeeg_) November 13, 2022
Izzy was hurt but clearly an early stoppage
— Sherif Abdul Rahaman (@shassme1) November 13, 2022
With this win, Pereira breaks Adesanya’s undefeated middleweight record and became the new middleweight champion. But the fight fans are already demanding a rematch following UFC 281. As Adesanya is the fan favorite, a lot of people are not happy with the result of this title fight.
Israel Adesanya was not happy with the stoppage at UFC 281
Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira are two of the most elite and technical strikers in the world. Adesanya entered the bout being the favorite. Both of them were undefeated in the UFC middleweight division going into this fight. Right from the start of the fight, it was a very technical fight. Izzy and Pereira started with some leg kicks and caught each other with powerful shots multiple times.
However, Adesanya rocked Pereira with a left hook at the end of the 1st round and Pereira was saved by the bell. Pereira started aggressively in the second round. He hurt Adesanya with some vicious shots in the clinch. Izzy showed a lot of clinching and landed some sneaky shots that wobbled Pereira.
Pereira looked exhausted in the fourth round after Izzy forced him to wrestle in the third round but was able to connect with some hard shots. However, Adesanya found a lot of success on his feet as he landed more shots and combinations. The impact of the extreme weight cut and the fatigue was visible on ‘Poatan’ in round 4.
The fifth round was fireworks as Adesanya showed a lot of clinching and incredible head movement but Pereira hurt him with a check that turned the motion of the fight. Pereira cornered Adesanya against the cage and started landing some vicious power shots.
However, Pereira shocked the world when he stopped Adesanya with a vicious combination and powerful shots. He stung Adesanya with a left hook and then a follow-up which wobbled ‘The Last Stylebender’.
PEREIRA DOES THE UNTHINKABLE!! 😱
— UFC (@ufc) November 13, 2022
But Adesanya was not happy with the stoppage as he protested against it. Fight fans also took to Twitter and claimed that it was an unfair decision against ‘The Last Stylebender.’
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) November 13, 2022
Stoppage was hella quick. Wiffed to puches while he was on the fence.
— Ahmad (@Dsante_Armand) November 13, 2022
During his post-fight interview, Adesanya talked about this and stated that the stoppage was early and he was fine, even though he was wobbling. Adesanya said: “My ego would say ‘at least let me go out on my shield’ but I don’t think I would have gone out because I was still there. I’ve seen worse stoppages.”
‘The Last Stylebender’ also added that if the match wasn’t stopped, he could have continued. While talking about it, Adesanya jokingly said if former MMA referee Steve Mazzagatti were refereeing, he would’ve still be the champion.
“F**k, bring back Steve Mazagatti. Bring back Steve Mazagatti, I would have been fine. You know, he might have won that round, but I would still be champion,” Adesanya added.
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Regardless of that, Pereira is now the new Middleweight champion and will continue to show his ferocious power and phenomenal skills in the future.