Blended martial arts star Israel Adesanya pulled off a surprising knockout win over Alex Pereira to reclaim the middleweight crown at UFC 287 on the Kaseya Centre Saturday.
The New Zealander downed the Brazilian within the second spherical to avenge his solely UFC defeat at middleweight.
After a cagey opening body that noticed Pereira goal Adesanya’s lead leg with brutal kicks, the battle burst into life within the second, with each males touchdown head kicks early and Adesanya’s crisp boxing starting to inform.
With the second spherical winding down, Adesanya was backed up in opposition to the cage however he immediately uncorked an enormous proper hand and adopted it up with one other to knock Pereira out chilly and take again the belt he misplaced to the Brazilian in November.
Adesanya adopted Pereira all the way down to the mat however referee Dan Mirgliotta waved the battle off, returning the Nigerian-born New Zealander to the highest of the middleweight pile, a weight class he has dominated for the final 4 years.
“I performed possum a bit … take a look at me, I’m right here, he’s right here, that final one (punch) had all the pieces. That final hammer fist was from the gods,” Adesanya mentioned in a post-fight interview within the cage.
The 33-year-old advised the followers in attendance that he hoped they’d have the prospect to really feel the identical pleasure that he was feeling at that second.
“In case you keep down, you’ll by no means ever get that resolve. Fortify your thoughts and really feel this stage of happiness as you rise,” mentioned Adesanya, who had by no means overwhelmed Pereira in MMA or kickboxing in three earlier conferences.
Within the co-main occasion, native favourite Jorge Masvidal introduced his retirement within the cage after shedding a unanimous determination to Brazil’s Gilbert Burns.