Israel Adesanya has something to prove.
The reigning middleweight champion will defend his 185-pound title against top contender Alex Pereira in the UFC 281 pay-per-view (PPV) main event on Nov. 12 in New York City, a five-round showdown that will give “The Last Stylebender” an opportunity to avenge his previous losses to “Poatan” on the kickboxing circuit.
CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE-DIP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to “The Fight Mecca,” Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., on Sat., Nov. 12, 2022, featuring two highly-anticipated championship showdowns. In UFC 281’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, will look to settle the score with former kickboxing foe and No. 5-seeded contender, Alex Pereira. In the ESPN+-streamed PPV co-main event, women’s Strawweight champion, Carla Esparza, intends to defend her newly-won title for the first time against former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Zhang Weili.
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“Beating him, that’s what matters,” Adesanya said during his latest video blog (transcribed by Farah Hannoun). “Like, the belt? Fuck the belt. Just beating him, a killer like him, that’s what matters. It’s not gonna be like last time. This is a different fighter you’re facing, and now I’ve become another fighter. I’ve re-birthed myself. I’ve re-birthed it, and I just feel like I want to have fun. That’s the goal. But this fight, I’m gonna have fun. That’s the ultimate goal. And when I have fun, I’m the best in the world.”
Outclassing Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 pushed Adesanya to 12-0 in the middleweight division (23-1 overall) and put him in the win column against four of the current Top 5 contenders. His only defeat in MMA came against Jan Blachowicz in the light heavyweight class. As for the 6-1 Pereira, he continued his winning ways last July in “Sin City,” crushing Sean Strickland in the opening frame with a punishing left hook.
That performance, coupled with his knockout win over Adesanya, was enough to greenlight a UFC 281 title shot, despite multiple protests from Team Stylebender. A victory for Pereira could pave the way for an immediate rematch, or open the gate for veteran keepers like Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori, among others.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 281 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard (on ESPNEWS/ESPN+) at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 281: “Adesanya vs. Pereira” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
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