Israel Adesanya to defend middleweight title against Alex Pereira at UFC 281 headliner


Israel Adesana will defend his UFC middleweight title against former opponent Alex Pereira in the headliner UFC 281 Nov. 12 in New York, Adesanya announced Friday on SportsCenter.

Pereira won two victories over adesanya in kickboxing, including knockout. ESPN ranked Adesanya third on their MMA list regardless of the pound.

Middleweight, Adesanya is #1 and Pereira is #7. Pereira, a former bi-division Glory Kickboxing champion, defeated Adesanya in kickboxing once by decision in 2016 and again a year later by knockout.

Adesanya (23-1) undefeated in his middleweight career. The Nigerian-born New Zealander has won three straight victories since losing a light heavyweight title shot against Jan Blachowicz in March 2021.

Adesanya, 33, has made five successful middleweight title defenses, holding the undisputed title since October 2019.

Pereira (6-1) Adesanya knocked out Sean Strickland in the first round at UFC 276 last month, in which Adesanya successfully defended his title against Jared Cannonier.

The Brazilian puncher has finished five times in six professional MMA fights since retiring from kickboxing.

Pereira, 35, is 3-0 in the UFC with a pair of $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses to his name.


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