Tonight, under the bright lights of New York City’s Madison Square Garden Arena, Alex Pereira was able to persevere in a tough battle versus Israel Adesanya, and emerge victorious to achieve the UFC middleweight title.
Other than a few moments of clinching, and a couple of brief trips to the ground, this bout was an extremely tactful striking match, in which both competitors had shining moments.
The first round served mainly as a feeling out process between the two. Both probed with jabs and low kicks in an effort to begin to get a read on one another. Right as the round was coming to a close, Adesanya landed a piston of a straight right that connected to the ear and rattled his opponent, this was followed up by a left hook right as the bell sounded. Wobbled, but not down, Pereira would make it back to his corner on shaky legs.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 13, 2022
In the second, Adesanya came out with much more confidence, flowing with his strikes. But, it was clear that Pereira had recovered by this point and fired back, landing hard shots of his own. Adesanya would go on to attempt takedowns on two separate occasions from inside the clinch, but the takedown defense and balance of Pereira was too strong. Near the end of the round, Pereira successfully executed a takedown of his own, in order to do his best to ensure that the scorecards would read 1-1 heading into the third.
— UFC (@ufc) November 13, 2022
Throughout the beginning of the third round, the calculated kickboxing continued for a short period of time until a clinch was initiated. From this clinch, Adesanya would secure his first takedown of the fight, and first of his UFC career. The champion would use this ground time to score points with ground strikes, as well as exhaust and control Pereira as he tried to struggle to his feet.
During round four, it was clear as day that the grappling has slowed Pereira down dramatically, and Adesanya was continuing to control him in the clinch in an effort to tire him further. While outside the clinch, the champion was reading the action smoothly, setting traps and landing strikes. While throwing and landing a mixture of low kicks, jabs, and straight rights, it appeared Adesanya had this fight well in hand.
Round five is where everything changed. Adesanya found himself with his back against the cage trying to defend the onslaught of a desperate Pereira who knew he needed a finish to secure the win. Pereira connected with a right hand that bothered the champion, then a devastating left hook, followed by an uppercut and capped off with an additional right. From there Adesanya was in survival mode with his hands down, referee Marc Goddard stepped in and stopped the action after a couple more grazing shots to ensure there was no unnecessary damage inflicted.
PEREIRA DOES THE UNTHINKABLE!! 😱
— UFC (@ufc) November 13, 2022
In only his fourth fight with the organization, Pereira dethroned the dominant champion who, prior to this night, had been undefeated in his twelve-fight UFC middleweight career.
Official Result: Alex Pereira defeats Israel Adesanya via TKO (Punches) – Round 5, 2:01