Israel Adesanya reclaims UFC title with emphatic knockout win

Sun, Apr 9
FC Israel Adesanya celebrates after winning the UFC middleweight championship against Alex Pereira.

Israel Adesanya has reclaimed the UFC middleweight title with an emphatic knockout win in the second round.

Adesanya opened the fight looking to square up Pereira but the Brazilian took advantage of the passivity with some early and relatively easy-to-land leg kicks.

As the Miami crowd chanted "let's go Izzy", Pereira pressed that advantage in the second round with more kicks to Adesanya's leg, eventually making the Kiwi buckle and fall back towards the cage.

Pereira took that as his moment to go for the finish however as he pressed the attack, Adesanya countered with a perfectly placed right hook, before a second right hand and a hammer fist finished the job.

"I played possum a bit," Adesanya said after the fight.

"That last hammer fist had everything in it."

As Adesanya roared in triumph, the Miami crowd joined in with him and soon after he was back in his corner embracing his City Kickboxing team.

The win came after Adesanya lost his belt to Pereira late last year in the final round of their first clash in the UFC, although that defeat was actually the third he'd suffered at the Brazilian's hands having faced each other twice in kickboxing bouts before shifting to MMA.

But with three blows to the head, that history was all but erased.

Adesanya still had plenty of respect for his rival though.

"Alex is a great champion no matter what. He lost the belt tonight but he will always be a champion."

After receiving his belt and announcer Bruce Buffer confirmed the result, Adesanya took the mic into his own hands to give fans in the arena and at home a powerful speech.

"I hope every one of you behind the screens or in this arena can feel this level of happiness just one time in your life," he began.

"I hope all of you can feel how happy I am just one time in your life but guess what? You will never feel this level of happiness if you don't go for something in your own life when they knock you down.

"If you stay down you will never ever get that resolve. Fortify your mind and feel this level of happiness as you rise."

After that, Adesanya was at his charismatic best with some one liners that delighted the crowd.

"They say revenge is sweet and if you know me, you already know I got a sweet tooth."


More Stories