Israel Adesanya knocks out Alex Pereira to recapture UFC title

Israel Adesanya avenged his previous defeats against Alex Pereira by knocking him out in the second round of their UFC 287 main event. Adesanya landed several devastating right hands that put Pereira to sleep at 4:21 in the second round, earning him back the UFC middleweight championship. Adesanya became the first two-time middleweight champion in UFC history and one of only four fighters to win their titles back in an immediate rematch. In his post-fight interview, Adesanya expressed his immense happiness and encouraged everyone to go for their goals to experience the same level of joy.

Israel Adesanya defeated Alex Pereira with a second-round knockout in their UFC 287 main event. Although Pereira had Adesanya against the cage and was landing combinations, Adesanya countered with a right hand that hurt Pereira and followed up with a left hook that put him down. Adesanya finished the fight with a hammerfist as the referee stopped the fight, leaving Pereira unconscious. Adesanya taunted Pereira by making a motion similar to Pereira’s bow and arrow taunt. Pereira had previously defeated Adesanya via TKO in November 2022 to win the title and had also beaten him twice in kickboxing. ESPN ranked Adesanya fifth and Pereira tied for tenth on its pound-for-pound MMA list.

Israel Adesanya had five successful title defenses at middleweight before losing to Alex Pereira last year. Despite having never lost at 185 pounds previously, his only MMA defeat came in a UFC light heavyweight title fight against Jan Blachowicz in 2021. Adesanya, 33, still holds the second-most title fight wins in UFC middleweight history (8) and was never shaken mentally leading up to the rematch against Pereira, according to UFC president Dana White.

Pereira, a former Glory Kickboxing middleweight and light heavyweight champion, had come into the fight on a seven-fight winning streak, with his only previous loss being in his MMA debut in 2015. However, Adesanya ultimately knocked Pereira out in the second round to regain the UFC middleweight championship, becoming the first two-time middleweight champion in UFC history. White expects Pereira to move up to light heavyweight due to the amount of weight he has to cut to make the 185-pound limit. Adesanya showed respect towards Pereira in his post-fight comments, acknowledging that he will always be a champion despite losing the belt. However, Adesanya also claimed the role of the protagonist in his own story, stating that he is the one making history.

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