Israel Adesanya finally got the better of his Close rival, Alex Pereira, reclaiming the middleweight world championship in the main event of UFC 287 at the Miami-Dade Arena on the morning of Sunday 9 April 2023.
The Nigerian-born fighter lost twice to Pereira in his kick-boxing career and ceded his UFC middleweight belt to the Brazilian when they met again in MMA in November last year. But this time around ‘The Last Stylebender’ claimed a spectacular second-round knockout to get the better of ‘Poatan’ at the fourth time of asking.
Both men were conservative in the first round, with Adesanya the more pro-active, though Pereira enjoyed success by landing calf kicks. And that tactic seemed to be paying dividends late in the second round when Adesanya’s right leg buckled somewhat and he backed up to the fence, covering up as Pereira moved in for what he thought would be a fight-ending flurry of strikes.
Instead, Adesanya fired back with a brutal right which rocked Pereira; a second right sent him to the canvas; and a spiteful hammer fist on the ground ended the fight before the referee could intervene.