Alex Pereira blasts Israel Adesanya with fifth-round TKO to become new middleweight champion at UFC 281

Israel-Adesanya-getty-ftr (Getty Images)

Alex Pereira did it again with his always dangerous, explosive power.

The Brazilian continued to prove that he has Israel Adesanya's number as he delivered a rallying fifth-round TKO to become the new middleweight world champion at UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday night. With the rousing victory, Pereira improves to 3-0 over Adesanya as his previous two wins over "The Last Stylebender" came in professional kickboxing.

Adesanya was up 3-1 rounds when Pereira caught him with an electric left hook. With the champ wobbled badly, Pereira unloaded with a right uppercut and then came across Adesanya's head with a right hook to have him reeling. "Poatan" then teed off on Adesanya with rights and lefts until the referee stepped in to stop the fight, effectively crowning theĀ new champion.

It was a stirring victory considering Adesanya broke a 1-1 tie in the third round by taking Pereira down and owning ground control. The fourth round had Pereira looking fatigued and unable to establish any significant offense.

Prior to the fifth round, Pereira's corner implored him that he needs a knockout to win and the Brazilian more than delivered.

With Adesanya up against the Octagon, Pereira bashed him with his vaunted left hook before an uppercut, right hook and flurry of thunderous punches brought "The Last Stylebender's" reign to an abrupt end.

Here's how the entire UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira main card went.


Pereira gets fifth-round TKO to become the new middleweight champ!

Pereira's corner implores him that he needs a knockout here. He comes out firing to the champion's body. Punishing right hand connects forĀ Pereira. Adesanya again has him mashed up against the Octagon. Big leg kick lands forĀ Pereira and Adesanya does a backwards somersaultĀ out of harm's way. He's back on his feet and looks fine. Glancing right hand upstairs lands. Huge left hook lands forĀ Pereira! Adesanaya is wobbled badly! Pereira now with a right hook and Adesanya is badly hurt.Ā Pereira is pouring it on with rights and lefts and the ref steps in to stop it!Ā Pereira and his undeniable dangerous power gets the TKO!

Adesanya vs. Pereira; Round 4

Adesanya sneaks in a jab and another for good measure. Left hook scrapes across Adesanya's face. Left jab lands for Adesanya and then a right hand connects. Sharp output from the champ. Left-right combo lands for Adesanya. Body kick follows from "The Last Stylebender." Adesanya comes around the guard with a right and through it with a left.Ā Pereira's offense is stagnant here. He looks fatigued. Adesanya has him in the clinch, pressed up against the cage whereĀ Pereira fires a knee into the champ's midsection. Big right hand lands for Adesanya. Straight left lands forĀ Pereira followed by a right seconds later. Adesanya resorts back to the clinch. He must have feltĀ Pereira's power enough there to do that. Crunching elbow lands for Adesanya.Ā Pereira shows some fight in the final seconds but needs a monstrous fifth round to take this one. (10-9 Adesanya, 39-37 Adesanya)

Adesanya vs. Pereira; Round 3

The champ sneaks in a left jab. Leg kick and then a right hand connects for "The Last Stylebender." Adesanya takesĀ Pereira down and now takes the challenger's back.Ā Pereira tries to get back on his feet but Adesanya tugs him back down. Adesanya has all his weight onĀ Pereira, while hitting him with stinging punches. Halfway mark of the round. Big ground control here for the champ. It looked likeĀ Pereira had a clean leg lock but he inexplicably let go and Adesanya is on top of him, raining down a couple of scraping elbows. Under a minute left. Good left hand acrossĀ Pereira's jaw. Axe kick to the body onto a fallenĀ Pereira. Big round from the champion. (10-9 Adesanya, 29-28 Adesanya)

Adesanya vs. Pereira; Round 2

Pereira seems to have recovered but Adesanya is going to test that. Adesanya is sniping extremely well with his left and right hands, splitting the challenger's guard. Adesanya is staying dangerously close toĀ Pereira. The champ peppersĀ Pereira with a jab and the Brazilian fires a stiff jab the other way. And another. Adesanya hasĀ Pereira pressed up against the Octagon and he goes for a single-leg takedown. He doesn't get it but keeps working. Right hand comes around the guard and lands with a bang for Adesanya. A left around the guard connects moments later.Ā Pereira with a couple of left hands that connect. The power is visible from the Brazilian every time he lands clean. Glancing head kick lands forĀ Pereira. Seconds later, he shoots, grabs hold of Adesanya's leg and scores the takedown at the buzzer. (10-9Ā Pereira, 19-19)

Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira; Round 1

Pereira charges across the Octagon and attempts a flying body kick that misses its mark. They settle down for a second and Adesanya chops away with a couple of leg kicks, working on Pereira's wheels.Ā Pereira returns the shot the other way. Adesanya with a right hand up the middle onĀ Pereira, who is definitely the bigger man.Ā Pereira with two leg kicks before going up high. Adesanya is going to need to checkĀ Pereira's kicks. Adesanya fakes to the body and goes upstairs with a kick. He brushesĀ Pereira back with a sniping right hand through the guard.Ā Pereira trying to fight his way forward and unload. Two minutes left. Another head kick attempt from the champ. Plenty of kicks being attempted. Solid kick to the body fromĀ Pereira and the champ answers with an inside leg kick. Riveting kick to the body fromĀ Pereira and he follows with a left hook. Adesanya better watch out for that left hook. They're in the clinch with Pereira getting the better of the action and oh! The champ rocksĀ Pereira with a right hand to the ear. He's badly hurt. And a left hook just after the buzzer follows. Adesanya takes the round. (10-9 Adesanya)

The striking surgeon Israel Adesanya is ready

Alex Pereira looks super focused

Main event time

Israel Adesanya lost twice to Alex Pereira in pro kickboxing. This is the middleweight champion's chance to exact revenge against his nemesis at Madison Square Garden. The time has arrived!

Zhang Weili becomes champ once again

Esparza shoots for a takedown, Weili defends well and she takes the American's back. She's threatening for a rear-naked choke, she's got it cinched in and that's it.

Zhang Weili is the new UFC women's strawweight champion of the world!

Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili; Round 1

An electric right-left combo followed by two head kicks from Weili. Those got every bit of Esparza's attention. The champ tries to take Weili down but Weili spins and takes Esparza's back. Esparza recovers well and even threatens an armbar during the waning seconds but the round belongs to Weili. (10-9 Weili)

The champ is here

Weili Zhang is in the building

Co-main on deck: Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili

Esparza's UFC women's strawweight title is on the line.

Poirier makes Chandler tap!

Huge win for Dustin Poirier as he takes Chandler's back, traps him in a body triangle and cinches in a rear-naked choke tightly to get his opponent to tap out for a third-round submission. What a wild fight!

Chandler comes back with big second round

Chandler wisely takes Poirier down early in the second round. He's threatening a rear-naked choke. Poirier wriggles out of the attempt but Chandler continues to dominate ground control time as he tees off with hammerfists. What a solid round for Chandler after nearly being finished in the first.

Insane first round

Chandler opens the round with a few kicks before finding a home with his right hand straight down the middleĀ repeatedly. He changes levels and takes Poirier down. Moments later, he picks up and slams Poirier down hard onto his back. Just as it looks that Chandler will dominate the round, Poirier rocks him with a right hand. Chandler is badly hurt and Poirier is teeing off. Chandler's nose is a crimson faucet. He's saved by time running out on the round or this one could have been over.

Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler is next

This lightweight clash should be nothing but fireworks.

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A beautiful jumping knee fromĀ Gutierrez detonates onto Edgar's chin and knocks out the legend instantly in the first round.

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