Israel Adesanya (24-2) knocked out Alex Pereira (7-2) to regain his UFC middleweight championship at UFC 287 in Miami.
Pereira picked up right where he left off from their last fight with a slew of outside leg kicks to open the bout. Adesanya looked for openings as the champion circled around him, changing levels with leg kicks of his own and combinations to the head.
Adesanya was more aggressive to open the second round, but it was Pereira who closed the distance and began to control the exchange. Adesanya found his footing, moved away from the cage, and walked down the champion with his own handful of strikes. Pereira was composed as Adesanya began to pour it on, staying in his pocket and waiting for opportunities to strike. He continued to chip away with leg kicks regardless of which stance the challenger was in.
Late in the round, Pereira hurt his opponent with a big leg kick, but Adesanya knocked the champ out with two consecutive big overhand right shots and finished him with a hammer fist for good measure. And in classic Stylebender fashion, Adesanya celebrated the win in style.
The only other loss Adesanya suffered in his UFC career came when he moved up to light heavyweight to fight Jan Błachowicz. Adesanya came into Saturday night 0-3 against Pereira, two coming during his kickboxing days and the last most recently in November when he passed the crown to the middleweight division to Pereira.