More than five years later, Alex Pereira proved he still has Israel Adesanya’s number.
Pereira stunned Adesanya by TKO in the fifth round to become the new UFC middleweight champion Saturday night in the main event of UFC 281 in Madison Square Garden.
The stoppage came at 2 minutes, 1 second.
Pereira rocked Adesanya with a big left hook to the chin midway through the fifth round, and went for the finish with the champion badly hurt against the cage. He landed a big right and another left before the referee jumped into to wave the fight off.
Pereira (7-1, 6 KO’s) had two previous victories over Adesanya, but both came in kickboxing, including a vicious knockout victory in March 2017. He won his three previous UFC fights heading into Saturday.
Adesanya (23-2, 15 KO’s) entered with five defenses of his belt, which he won by knocking out Robert Whittaker in October 2019.