Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira for middleweight title set to serve as UFC 281 main event

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will defend his title against Alex Pereira in the main event of UFC 281 in November.

A massive UFC middleweight title fight is set to serve as the main event at UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden on November 12. On Friday afternoon it was announced on ESPN’s SportsCenter by middleweight champion Israel Adesanya that he will defend his title against former kickboxing rival Alex Pereira, the fight will be Pereira’s first title fight opportunity since entering the UFC.

This will be the sixth title fight of Israel Adesanya’s title reign, his most recent defense came back last month at UFC 276, when he defeated challenger Jared Cannonier by unanimous decision. This will also be the third title defense fight for Adesnaya in 2022, as he also defeated former champion Robert Whittaker by unanimous decision back at UFC 271 in February.  The stage was set for the champion and Pereira to meet when they both competed at UFC 276, and Pereira cemented his opportunity for a title fight by knocking out rising contender Sean Strickland in the first round.

Both men have history outside of their respective MMA careers, as Pereira owns two victories over Adesanya in their kickboxing careers, including a viral KO. No stranger to addressing his faults and losses, “The Last Stylebender” addressed Pereira’s kickboxing victories over him while on SportsCenter and noted the differences that he’ll be able to bring in their MMA fight due to skills and ruleset.

Alex Pereira’s rise to the top of the UFC’s middleweight division was a very quick one. While his lone professional MMA loss came back in 2015, Pereira made quick work of his time with LFA and after just one fight with them, jumped to the UFC and picked up three consecutive wins, including the knockout of Strickland. On the same night in which he took his place as the top contender, Israel Adesanya received criticism for his lack of excitement and aggressiveness in another title fight defense at UFC 276.

The reigning champion addressed those concerns during his SportsCenter appearance, saying that he’s never one to avoid a fight and he’s excited to face an opponent who will bring the pace and aggressiveness towards him. During his comments, Adesanya guaranteed that either he or Pereira will be getting knocked out at UFC 281.

The champion would take to his personal Twitter account after his television appearance, calling for vengeance against the man who has two victories over him, including a viral kickboxing knockout.

Alex Pereira worked his way quickly to the top, and now Israel Adesanya, the UFC, and fans alike will get the title fight they’ve been hoping for since the kickboxing champion joined the UFC promotion. With vengeance on the table for the middleweight champion, their styles lining up for a firefight, and the rivalry between them, the main event at UFC 281 has all the makings of an instant classic.

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