In the main event of UFC 287, we saw a rematch for the middleweight title. While it was the second mixed martial arts fight between these two, it was actually their fourth fight in combat sports. Middleweight champion Alex Pereira (7-1) was looking to remain unbeaten against Israel Adesanya (23-2).
The Last Stylebender reigned over the UFC’s middleweight division for years with his elite striking. Nobody could quite solve the puzzle of Adesanya’s striking. However, in November 2021, one man entered the UFC who had the credentials to do so.
That man was Alex Pereira. Pereira and Adesanya fought twice in kickboxing with Pereira winning both fights. In their second fight, he knocked Adesanya out cold. After three straight win, the UFC rushed Pereira to the top to take on Adesanya.
Their first fight was competitive back in November with Adesanya up three rounds to one heading into the final frame. However, Pereira poured things on and stopped Adesanya in the final round. Tonight, he was looking to go 4-0 against the former champ.
UFC 287 Recap
The UFC 287 headliner kicks off with no touch of the gloves. Here we go and Pereira takes the center and starts plotting forward. Calf kick from Pereira starts the striking. Body kick from Adesanya starts his striking and Pereira goes back to the calf kick. Adesanya throws a calf kick of his own.
Both men doing a lot of feeling out here in the opening minute. Big calf kick from Adesanya that might’ve been checked. Pereira circles on the outside and he lands a calf kick of his own. Jab from Adesanya finds the chin of Pereira. Pereira trying to up the pressure here just a little.
Another calf kick from Pereira and Adesanya throws a combination. Halfway through the round and it’s a high level game of chess right now. 1-2 from Adesanya lands. Another leg kick from the champion. Pereira really starting to put pressure on Adesanya here.
Body kick from Adesanya and a low kick from Pereira. Body kick from Adesanya. Jab to the body and a calf kick from Pereira. Low kick now from Adesanya. Body kick from Adesanya. Calf kick from Pereira and then he comes up top. Adesanya lands a left.
Thirty seconds left in the round and nothing major has landed thus far. Very close first round and a calf kick lands for Pereira. The round comes to a close and that could’ve gone to either fighter at UFC 287 but I lean slightly towards Pereira.
Entering the second at UFC 287 and once again you can tell how evenly matched these two men are on the feet. Body kick from Adesanya starts the striking. Calf kick from Adesanya and then he tries coming up top. Pereira really pressuring now and he unloads a couple of big shots.
Adesanya took those shots well but Pereira landed big there. Pereira fighting with a lot more urgency to start the second. Right hand lands for Adesanya and the pace slows. High kick attempt from Adesanya and he eats a calf kick on the exit.
Another calf kick from the champion. Three minutes left in the second round now Adesanya is fighting with pressure. Huge jab lands for Pereira. Right hand for Adesanya. Another right hand and a body kick from Adesanya. Calf kick from Pereira.
Low kick from Adesanya. Pereira starts pressuring again and Adesanya lands a left. Adesanya circles and Pereira is trying to cut him off. Nice combination to the body from Adesanya. Calf kick from Pereira and a right hand from Adesanya lands. They trade in the pocket but nothing clean lands.
One minute left and Pereira buckles Adesanya with a leg. Pereira is all over him here but Adesanya rocks him out of now where. Follow up shot for Adesanya and down goes Pereira. Two more shots and Pereira is out cold. Massive statement for Adesanya who regains the UFC title.
Israel Adesanya def. Alex Pereira by KO – Round 2