Alex Pereira stopped Israel Adesanya in the fifth round to become the new UFC middleweight champion.
A series of punches from Pereira including an uppercut handed Adesanya his first defeat in the category and his third against the Brazilian after losses in 2016 and 2017.
Pereira becomes the new undisputed champion with just five fights in the UFC.
In his fourth fight in the UFC, Alex Pereira is the new middleweight champion after vanquishing longtime rival Israel Adesanya with a stunning fifth-round knockout.
Just when it looked like Pereira was staring down a loss, he decided to leave everything in the cage and he came after Adesanya with everything left in his arsenal. A left hook staggered Adesanya and that spelt the beginning of the end as Pereira just unloaded a barrage of punches in succession.
A visibly shaken, hurt and wobbly Adesanya could not keep up as the referee brought it to an end before the buzzer.
Adesanya had dominated in the opening rounds, unsettling in opponent in the third with a takedown, but could not hold his own in the final round.
The ‘Last Stylebender’ was ahead 3-1 heading into the fifth round and all he had to do was keep his challenger at bay.
Pereira’s instruction from his corner was very clear, “knock him out if you want to win this” and that was exactly what he did. Adesanya managed to keep him in check until the final seconds when he exposed himself to audible blows that gave him jelly legs before the referee stepped in to end it.
Adesanya fell to the ground for a moment but managed to stagger back to his feet only for Pereira to continue the assault until referee Marc Goddard saw enough to rescue “The Last Stylebender” before he took further damage. Pereira celebrated his victory with the fight ending at 2:01 in the fifth and final round in the UFC 281 main event.“I feel so blessed,” Pereira said about his victory. “I worked so hard for this. Sorry to everybody that I had to post some stuff, I had to do a little bit of trash talk this time. But I had to get in his head to get into this fight”.