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.
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.