Ultimate announced Friday night that the long-awaited fight between middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, and Brazil’s Alex “Poatan” Pereira will take place on November 12, in New York. The match will be the main event of UFC 281. It was announced on the US television station “Espn”.
Israel Adesanya (left) and Alex Poatan (right) have already faced each other twice in kickboxing, with the Brazilian winning twice – Image: Infoesporte
It’s an opportunity for the Brazilian to regain the belt that belonged to Morello Bustamante in 2002 and Anderson Silva between 2006 and 2013. Since “Spider” lost the title to Chris Weidmann and broke his leg in the rematch, three other Brazilians had a chance, but they shocked the post: Liuto Machida and Vitor Belfort, both defeated by Weidmann, and Paulo Porashinha, who lost to Adesanya himself in 2020.
A duel has been expected since the signing of Puatan with the company in 2021. The rivalry between the two fighters has arisen since the times when they both competed in kickboxing. The Brazilian beat the Nigerian twice, in 2016 and 2017. In the first, Pereira beat Adesanya by unanimous decision of the judges. In the rematch, in Brazil, he was knocked down.
Since his move to MMA, Israel Adesanya, 33, has lost only once, when he moved to Light Heavyweight (93kg) to challenge Jan Blachowicz for the belt. As a middleweight (84 kg), he has 23 fights and 23 victories, including five belt defenses since he unified the division titles by eliminating Robert Whitaker in 2019.
Alex Pereira, 35, has made a name for himself in kickboxing as a two-weight division champion at Glory, the sport’s main event. In MMA, after debuting with a loss in 2015, he has won six fights, four of them since 2020, when he returned to the sport, and three in the UFC. In July, at the same event in which Adesanya defended his belt against Jared Kannonier, he was delighted by Poitan by knockout Shawn Strickland, at the time fifth in the middleweight division.
With the match confirmed as the main event, UFC 281 now has two fights on the table. The other, announced earlier this week, will see lightweight Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler face off.
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