UFC 281: Pereira knocks out Adesanya to clinch middleweight title; Weili wins strawweight belt

Alex Pereira of Brazil was crowned the undisputed middleweight champion at the Ultimate Fighting Championship 281 on Sunday at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

In a fight that lasted all five out of five rounds, Pereira won the matchup right at the end of fifth round as Israel Adesanya suffered his first ever knockout in UFC history. 

In a fight that lasted all five out of five rounds, Pereira won the matchup right at the end of fifth round as Israel Adesanya suffered his first ever knockout in UFC history.  | Photo Credit: AP

Alex Pereira of Brazil was crowned the undisputed middleweight champion at the Ultimate Fighting Championship 281 on Sunday at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

Alex Pereira of Brazil was crowned the undisputed middleweight champion at the Ultimate Fighting Championship 281 on Sunday at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

In a fight that lasted all five out of five rounds, Pereira won the matchup right at the end of the fifth round as Israel Adesanya suffered his first-ever knockout in UFC history.

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The Brazilian looked down and out in the fourth round, only to peak at the right time to land powerful hooks and an uppercut in the final minutes of the fifth round to clinch the title in style.

Adesanya has only lost one other time, in a light heavyweight bout against Jan Blachowicz in 2021.

The 35-year-old Pereira had defeated Adesanya twice -- once by knockout -- in their old kickboxing days and that streak continued.

“I feel so good, I’ve been training all my life, I worked so hard for this,” a jubilant Pereira said in his post-fight interview.

Earlier, Zhang ‘Magnum’ Weili of China clinched the women’s strawweight title from Carla ‘Cookie Monster’ Esparza. Unlike the main event, this fight lasted just two rounds as Zhang produced a strong rear-naked choke on Esparza and the former won the belt with a win via submission.

In the lightweight bout, former champion Dustin Poirier came out victorious against Michael Chandler in a fight that lasted three rounds before the latter tapped to submit. Dustin, despite being pinned down in the second round, came back aggressively in the third round and it paid off as he choked Chandler to submission.

Meanwhile in the bantamweight bout, playing his 35th and final match of his career, Frankie ‘the answer’ Edgar suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of American Chris Gutierrez.

In the first main card event, Dan Hooker defeated Claudio Puellas in the men’s lightweight. The preliminary card contained nine matches.

RESULTS
MAIN CARD
Alex Pereira def. Israel Adesanya via 5th-round TKO (2:01) 
Zhang Weili def. Carla Esparza via sub (RNC) (R2, 1:05)
Dustin Poirier def. Michael Chandler via sub (RNC) (R3, 2:00)
Chris Gutierrez def. Frankie Edgar via 1st-round KO (2:01)
Dan Hooker def. Claudio Puelles via second-round TKO (4:06) 
PRELIMS
Renato Moicano def. Brad Riddell via submission, round 1
Ryan Spann def. Dominick Reyes via first-round KO (1:20)
Erin Blanchfield def. Molly McCann via submission (kimura) (Round 1, 3:37)
Andre Petroski def. Wellington Turman via UD (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Matt Frevola def. Ottman Azaitar via first-round KO (2:30)
Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Silvana Gomez Juarez via UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Michael Trizano def. Seung Woo Choi via first-round KO (4:51)
Montel Jackson def. Julio Arce via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Carlos Ulberg def. Nicolae Negumereanu via first-round KO (3:44) 
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