Israel Adesanya has lost his UFC middleweight belt, following his defeat in the hands of Alex Pereira on Sunday morning at Madison Square Garden.
Pereira pulled off an upset against Adesanya with a technical knockout in the fifth round during the main event at the UFC 281 to become the new UFC middleweight champion.
Adesanya had Pereira out on his feet at the end of Round 1, but the Brazilian returned the favour in Round 5 to snatch it.
Just before the end of the first round, the 33-year-old landed a huge shot that sent Pereira to the ground.
But in the second round, Pereira dominated ‘The Last Stylebender’ and landed the takedown to level the judges’ scorecard.
In the fifth round, Pereira knocked the Nigerian out. Adesanya was likely up on the scorecards, three rounds to one, when he slipped in the middle of the octagon.
As Adesanya retreated to the fence in an attempt to recover, Pereira followed and threw punches on his face, stunning him and nearly knocking him unconscious.
Referee Marc Goddard ended the fight as Adesanya’s body went limp, although Adesanya protested the stoppage as he attempted to regain his composure.
This is the third time Adesanya is losing to Pereira in kickboxing; the first was in 2016 and then 2017.