Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira delivered once again in the main event of UFC 287. This time, and for the first time in their series, it was Adesanya who came out on top.
Could the fourth time be the charm for former champion Israel Adesanya? Alex Pereira had defeated him three times already heading into UFC 287, twice in kickboxing and once in MMA. However, Adesanya was well on his way to a win at UFC 281 before a fifth-round knockout by Pereira that ended Adesanya’s title reign.
Pereira has lived up to the billing since transitioning to MMA following an illustrious kickboxing career. It took him just three fights in the UFC to earn a title shot, and he made the most of it.
Israel Adesanya established his leg kick early on, opening up with a pair of punches two minutes in followed by a leg kick. Pereira shot up a head kick that did not land cleanly. The jabs started to find a home for Adesanya as he began backing up Pereira successfully. The leg kicks continued to land too as the champion was simply feeling out the challenger, throwing less than a handful of strikes.
Pereira came out much more aggressive in round two, clipping Adesanya with a head kick and pushing Adesanya to the fence. A pair of heavy punches connected for the champion. Adesanya got his back off the cage and got back to work with his kicks. A strong right straight split the guard of Pereira. A left hook then knocked Pereira off balance. Adesanya’s volume was too much in the early going for Pereira to contend with as another right hand snapped the head of the champion back. Pereira stung Adesanya with a slew of leg kicks. Adesanya was trapped with his back against the cage with Pereira teeing off. A right hand rifled out from Adesanya, wobbling Pereira. The former champion quickly followed it with another right hand over the top, and Pereira crumbled. His head hit the canvas, and Adesanya delivered the finishing blows, reclaiming his title.
Adesanya celebrated by firing several invisible arrows into his longtime foe.
Israel Adesanya def. Alex Pereira by KO (Right Hook) in Round 2 (4:21)