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UFC 287: Adesanya Stuns Pereira, Reclaims UFC Middleweight Title


UFC 287: Adesanya Stuns Pereira, Reclaims UFC Middleweight Title

Nigerian mixed martial artist Israel Adesanya reclaimed his middleweight title after a stunning second round knockout victory against Brazilian Alex Pereira during UFC 287, at the Kaseya Centre in Miami, Florida.

Adesanya has now avenged his only UFC defeat at middleweight level.

After a cagey opening frame that saw Pereira target Adesanya’s lead leg with brutal kicks, the fight burst into life in the second, with both men landing head kicks early and Adesanya’s crisp boxing beginning to tell.

With the second round winding down, Adesanya was backed up against the cage but he suddenly unleashed a huge right hand and followed it up with another to knock Pereira out cold and take back the belt he lost to the Brazilian in November.

Adesanya followed Pereira down to the mat and landed some more punches before referee Dan Mirgliotta waved the fight off, returning the Nigerian-born New Zealander to the top of the middleweight pile, a weight class he has dominated for the last four years.

Israel Adesanya knocks out Alex Pereira during UFC 287 middleweight championship.

“I played possum a bit … look at me, I am here, he is here, that last one (punch) had everything. That last hammer fist was from the gods,” Adesanya said in a post-fight interview in the cage.

The 33-year-old told the fans in attendance that he hoped they would have the chance to feel the same joy that he was feeling in that moment.

“If you stay down, you will never ever get that resolve. Fortify your mind and feel this level of happiness as you rise,” said Adesanya, who had never beaten Pereira in MMA or kickboxing in three previous meetings.

In the co-main event, local favourite Jorge Masvidal announced his retirement in the cage after losing a unanimous decision to Brazil’s Gilbert Burns.


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