In a thrilling showdown at UFC 287 in Miami on Sunday, Israel Adesanya avenged his previous defeat to Brazilian striker Alex Pereira with a series of punishing counter punches.
After his TKO loss to Pereira at UFC 281 in November, many believed that Adesanya would struggle in the rematch. However, in front of a raucous crowd at the Kaseya Center, Adesanya proved his critics wrong by dominating the fight and reclaiming the middleweight title in just two rounds.
Adesanya closed the show inside two rounds at UFC 287 and won a Performance of the Night bonus.
In a highly anticipated main event, Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira showcased their elite kickboxing skills in the opening round, sizing each other up and looking for openings. Adesanya was wary of Pereira's powerful left-hand strikes, circling away from danger, while Pereira attempted to slow Adesanya down with calf kicks.
In the second round, Pereira began to turn up the heat, pressuring Adesanya towards the cage with heavy punches. However, Adesanya played it smart, evading the strikes and looking for opportunities to unleash his own kicks. Both fighters traded blows with precision, with Adesanya keeping his focus on moving forward and avoiding being backed into a corner.
Towards the end of the round, Adesanya found himself against the cage after taking a couple of damaging low kicks. Pereira seized the opportunity, landing a hard hook and shot to the body, followed by a knee and a left hook. As Pereira dropped his guard to launch another hook, Adesanya saw his opening and landed a lightning-fast jab followed by a massive overhand right, knocking Pereira down and securing the victory.
The right landed clean and staggered Pereira, Adesanya then followed things up with another overhand right and a short left uppercut that connected while “Poatan” fell toward the canvas in an unconscious state. To ensure the fight was over, Adesanya dropped on top of the Brazilian with a nasty hammer fist before the referee intervened to stop the action.
Following the electrifying main event, Adesanya had some very inspiring words for the fans prior to his post fight interview:
To conclude an exciting evening, and a captivating rivalry, Adesanya and Pereira shared a moment of respect for one another backstage while surrounded by their teams: