UFC 281 HIGHLIGHTS: Pereira wins middleweight title as Adesanya suffers first ever TKO; Zhang Weili wins strawweight belt

Catch the highlights and updates from the Ultimate Fighting Championship 281 that concluded at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

Alex Pereira was crowned the undisputed middleweight champion after he knocked out Israel Adesanya.

Alex Pereira was crowned the undisputed middleweight champion after he knocked out Israel Adesanya. | Photo Credit: AP

Catch the highlights and updates from the Ultimate Fighting Championship 281 that concluded at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

Hello and welcome to Sportstar’s hoghlights of UFC 281.

Main card results
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) 
Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira

Result: Alex Pereira def. Israel Adesanya by TKO at 2:01 of Round 5.

Round 5: Fifth and the final round. Pereira will be relieved at the fact that he doesn’t have to fight no more than 5 minutes. Adesanya checked a right foot kick and it backfired as he trips and falls down but he is qucik to get back up. Pereira peaks right at the end of the fight!!! Corners Adesanya to a corner and dieshes out powerful hooks and tops it off with an upper cut. Adesanya is knocked out and ALEX PEREIRA IS THE NEW UNDISPUTED MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION!!!

Round 4: Adesanya continues with his leg kicks and is finding success at it too. Pereira is worn out and it is there to see. His locks are weak, his kicks and punches are even weaker. Adesanya is looking for that one opportunity but it has been elusive for the last six odd minutes. A fairly dull round comes to an end with that.

Round 3: What started as a slow and steady round has turned into a fiery fight. Adesanya puts in a leg kick, Pereira loses concentration and the champion capitalises. He puts in a takedown and suddenly Pereira is pinned down and struggling. Adesanya leans on top and lands a series of punches, Pereira is finding it hard to break away from the situation. Adesanya brings his opponent down with a body hold and a spin and a tired Pereira looks all but done. Adesanya is trying his best but the whistle is blown. End of 3rd round.

Round 2: Early leg kicks from Adesanya. Pereira on the other hand attempts a spinning kick but fails miserably as Adesanya ducks with ease. Adesanya puts in a kick, that is blocked, and follows it up with a testing jab that finds Pereira’s face. Pereira gets a couple of short jabs on the Nigerian’s face but nothing significant. Pereira gets a leg hold as Adesanya attempts a kick and the former tops it off with a takedown but the offical blows his whistle before anything develops. End out round two and it looks like the shares are spoiled as of now.

Round 1: Woah.. Pereira starts off red-hot. Attempts a jump kick but Adesanya sees it coming and dodges. Adesanya’s defense is on point, all the punches and kickes thrown at him are deflected. Uneventful round thus far as both the fighter exchange weak shots. Just as we speak.. Adesanya ends round 1 on a high as he lands a strong punch to Pereira’s right ear and the latter looks troubled.

It is now time for the main event. Israel Adesanya is geared up to defend his middleweight title against Alex Pereira. Will we see a new champion or will Adesanya successfully defend his belt? After all, he has defended his title five times before this!

Israel Adesanya - key stats

Longest Active UFC Win Streak in Middleweight Division - 12

Second Most Knockdowns in Middleweight History 

Fourth Highest Significant Strike Defense Among Active Middleweights 

Alex Pereira - key stats

Two-Time Performance of the Night Winner 

Carla Esparza vs Zhang Weili

In the stawweight title bout, Carla Esparza defends her title against giant killer Zhang Weili.

Round 1: Carla starts off with an accurate punch. Carla tries to duck but Zhang proves elusive as the latter dishes out a powerful punch on the reigning champion. Brilliant from Carla, Zhang attemost a kick, even lands one but Carla counters with a leg lock and brings Zhang down. Twist in the tale yet again as Zhang gets away from the lock and puts in a body triangle that tests Carla’s abilities. Zhang still on top as Carla is pinned down, gasping for breath but the Chinese doesn’t seem to stop as she continues with her punches. Match official blows the whistle and it is the end of round 2.

Round 2: Eventful start to the second round as Zhang has Carla pinned down with a rear naked choke and CARLA TAPS OUT!!! ZHANG WEILI IS THE NEW WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT UFC CHAMPION!! Zhang is surprisingly humble with her celebrations, she has just won the strawweight title FYI!

Zhang Weili def. Carla Esparza via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:05 of Round 2

Coming up nexrt, the women’s strawweight title fight between Carla Esparza and Zhang Weili!

Dustin Poirier vs Michael Chandler

It is now time for yet another mouth watering clash. Former champion Dustin Poirier takes on ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler in the men’s lightweight bout.

Round 1: Chandler with a left hand jab to Poirier’s head and it is as clean as it gets. Chandler with a series of punches and Poirier’s defense is getting tested here. Poirier finally retaliates with a punch of his own but Chandler is quick to react. Chandler yet again with continous punches and Dustin is pinned to a corner. To rub salt to the wound, Chandler grabs Dustin’s waist and slams him down. Dustin is stuggling to break the lock. They both are on their feet. Dustin on top right at the end, lands an array of punches and leaves Chandler’s face bloodied. First round comes to an end with that.

Round 2: Chandler starts agressively. Initiates a takedown on Dustin and Dustin reacts with a takedown defense. Chandler’s bloody nose is leaking but it is to his advantage here as Dustin gets distracted because of that for a moment. Chandler capitalises and puts in a body hold, Dustin is showing clear signs of struggle. Chandler in complete control here. Dustin is pinned down and Chandler lands a dozen punches in as many seconds. That’s the end of round two.

Round 3: Chandler starts off with a couple of kicks to Dustin’s right knee. Chandler attempts a take down but Dustin counters it. Dustin puts in a rear naked choke and CHANDLER HAS TAPPED!! DUSTIN WINS THE FIGHT VIA SUBMISSION!!

Dustin Poirier def. Michael Chandler via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:00 of Round 3

Frankie Edgar vs Chris Gutierrez

In the bantamweight bout, Frankie ‘the answer’ Edgar is all set to lock horns with Chris Gutierrez. They will be excited to fight, with AJ Sterling, the reigning bantam weight champion in the crowd. Guttierez comes into this fight with a 7-match winning streak!!

Round 1: Kicks back and forth between the both as they take each other on cautiously. Edgar lands a clean punch on Guttierez. WOAH!! GUTTIEREZ WITH A FLYING KNEE ON EDGAR AND IT IS OVER!! Not the ideal farewell for Frankie Edgar as the match is over in just under 3 minutes! Gutierrez with muted celebrations and he is quick to acknowledge Frankie and consoles him. Just brilliant from Gutierrez! Frankie exits the octagon with eyes full of tears and understandably so as halks out of the UFC arena for the final time.

Up next, crowd favourite Frankie ‘the answer’ Edgar takes on Chris Gutierrez in bantamweight category. Fighting his 30th and final match, Edgar, 40, will look to bow out with a win.

Chris Gutierrez def. Frankie Edgar by KO at 2:01 of Round 1. 

Aljamain Sterling, who retained his bantamweight belt in the UFC 280, is among the audience, waiting to witness the main event between Adesanya and Pereira. So are we!

Dan Hooker vs Claudio Puelles

First up, its the men’s lightweight bout. Claudio Puelles comes into the fight with a five match winning streak while Dan Hooker holds the record of finishing 17 out of his 20 fights.

Round 1: Both the fightters are checking their strikes and the match starts slow. Puelles.. WOW! comes in running and tries a takedown and almost succeeds as Puelles trips and falls down. But Puelles is right back with a leg hold of his own, Hooker is struggling to break the lock. Hooker finally is out of the deadlock but it was real close! Hooker lands a powerful punch onto Puelles and he falls down. With that the first round comes to an end.. Competitive round to say the least.

Round 2: Action straightaway! Puelles is down on his knees and attempts a takedown but Hooker anticipated it and dodges it. But Hooker gets the last laugh as he lands a punch on Puelles’s face and falls down. Puelles looks troubled as he is constantly falling down, not sure if its a strategy to distract Hooker or if he is really stuggling. Puelles tries a takedown but Hooker reacts with a defense, gets back and delivers a punch and a kick. Puelles is down yet again and he looks genuinely exhausted. Hooker lands a kick just under Puelles’s guts and IT IS OVER!! Dan Hooker wins the battle via TKO!! What a dominant performance!

Dan Hooker def. Claudio Puelles by TKO (body kick) at 4:06 of Round 2. 

Just under 30 minutes left for the main cards to begin. Stay tuned for live updates!!

Main card full schedule

  • ⦿ Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira - UFC middleweight title bout
  • ⦿ Carla Esparza vs Zhang Weili - UFC women’s strawweight title bout
  • ⦿ Dustin Poirier vs Michael Chandler - Lightweight bout
  • ⦿ Frankie Edgar vs Chris Gutierrez - Bantamweight bout
  • ⦿ Dan Hooker vs Claudio Puelles - Lightweight bout
Preliminary - results

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) 


The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns on Sunday, headlined by two highly anticipated championship matchups. during the UFC 281 event at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

In the main event, UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya looks to settle scores with former kickboxing foe and No. 5 ranked contender Alex Pereira.

Adesanya had twice gone up against Pereira in kickboxing bouts in 2016 and 2017 and suffered defeats on both occasions.

In the co-main event, UFC women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza aims to defend her title for the first time against former champion and No. 2 ranked contender Zhang Weili.

*The main card begins at 8.30am IST and the prelims started at 4.30am.

When and where to watch UFC 281 in India?

The matches will start at 11.30pm IST and will be telecast live SONY TEN 2, SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :
Download Sportstar App
Download Sportstar App
 Episode 13: David Gower
Connect With Us