Adesanya Knocks Out Opponent to Regain Title

Image credit: BBC

Israel Adesanya has reclaimed the UFC middleweight championship by delivering a stunning knockout victory over long-time nemesis Alex Pereira at UFC 287 in Miami, Florida – redemption for the three previous defeats suffered at the hands of his rival. Adesanya, who was born in Nigeria and is now based in New Zealand, roared in delight after securing the impressive fifth-round victory over Pereira, encouraging viewers to “feel this level of happiness” that comes with pursuing one’s dreams and not giving up after defeat.

In the co-main event, Brazil’s Gilbert Burns outpointed local hero Jorge Masvidal to call for a title fight with Leon Edwards of Britain. Dana White previously declared American Colby Covington as the next challenger for Edwards, but Burns’ impressive win in his second successive bout could put him in title contention.

The main event lived up to its pre-fight hype, Adesanya wearing a dog collar during his pre-fight walkout symbolizing he was ready to be released and Pereira mimicking firing a bow and arrow to pay homage to his indigenous Brazilian roots. Although both fighters threw numerous feints and attacked via leg kicks in the early stages, the second round saw Pereira apply pressure and attack Adesanya against the cage. However, unlike their fight in November, Adesanya was able to avoid damage and counter with two flush right hands, defeating Pereira in the fifth.

Masvidal, whose 20-year career has brought 35 victories from 52 fights, announced his retirement following the defeat to Burns. Meanwhile, Raul Rosas Jr, the youngest fighter in UFC history at 18, lost his first fight in the promotion by unanimous decision to Christian Rodriguez.

UFC is one of the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organizations and is owned by the International Endeavour Group, a US publicly-traded company. Many of the world’s best MMA fighters have showcased their talents in UFC events worldwide.

Israel Adesanya is one of the most prominent names in the MMA scene. He transitioned from kickboxing to MMA in 2017 and quickly rose to prominence in the middleweight division, becoming UFC’s unified middleweight champion in 2019 and defending his title five times. He utilized his skills in kickboxing and mixed martial arts to secure a stunning victory over long-time rival Pereira. Outside of the octagon, Adesanya is an active advocate of mental health and encourages others to find happiness even in the face of adversity.