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  • Babajide EverBlazin

Deja Vu as Pereira knocks out Adesanya to clinch UFC Middleweight title

Alex Pereira came from behind to stun Israel Adesanya and knock out the middleweight champion.

Pereira and Adesanya had met prior to their trilogy of sorts at Madison Square Garden, with the Brazilian winning both of their kickboxing bouts.

The first was a controversial decision which Adesanya appeals to this day, but there was no mistaking the winner of their rematch when Pereira came from behind to land a thundering knockout of the future UFC superstar.

And their rivalry attracted stars Mike Tyson, Jake Gyllenhaal and Sylvester Stallone to Madison Square Garden to see Adesanya make his sixth world title defence since dethroning Robert Whittaker in October 2019 and unifying the division.

He started the fight as the odds-on favourite despite his history with Pereira, but it was the challenger who was the aggressor at the start of the contest, flying out of the traps to throw a big head kick which missed the champion.

Both men focused more on leg kicks after the quick start, with Adesanya finding some success with his jab as well as moving up with his kicks.

But it was ultimately something of a chess match in the opening stanza on a night otherwise filled with finishes. Just three of the 13 undercard bouts went to the judges, with the entire main card ending in stoppages including a barn-burner between Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler.

That was until the final second of the round when Adesanya landed a beautiful combination which saw Pereira wobbling before being directed to his corner.

A right hand caused the damage which was compounded by a left hook, but the Brazilian was able to continue into the second session.

Adesanya then narrowly dodged some big shots but appeared comfortable sitting against the cage and allowing Pereira to come to him. At that point, both men were opening up more with their movement, with the champion looking solid in the clinch before shooting for a rare takedown that had fans excited.

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