UFC 281 fight card primer: Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira

The main event of UFC 281 will feature a middleweight fight between Israel Adesanya (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) and Alex Pereira (6-1 MMA, 3-0…

By: Kristen King | 7 months ago
UFC 281 fight card primer: Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The main event of UFC 281 will feature a middleweight fight between Israel Adesanya (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) and Alex Pereira (6-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC). UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira airs live from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York this Saturday, November 12th. The main ESPN+ PPV card will start with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 a.m. PT, with the ESPNews/ESPN+ prelims beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT and the early prelims kicking off at 6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m. PT.

How do these two stack up?

Adesanya: 33 years old | 6’4” | 80” reach

Pereira: 35 years old | 6’4” | 79” reach

What have these two done recently?

Adesanya: W – Jared Cannonier (DEC) | W – Robert Whittaker (DEC) | W – Marvin Vettori (DEC)

Pereira: W – Sean Strickland (KO) | W – Bruno Silva (DEC) | W – Andreas Michailidis (TKO)

How did these two get here?

Have you heard Alex Pereira knocked out Israel Adesanya? That has — and continues to be — repeated, especially since both men are about to meet again. But this time could be different.

The third-round KO loss to Pereira at Glory of Heroes 7 was the final time we saw Adesanya in a ring, as the ‘Last Stylebender’ shifted his focus to MMA entirely. He was already 9-0 as a professional, with all of his wins coming by way of (T)KO. He fought two more times, and before you knew it, he was announced as the next UFC signee. When he arrived in the promotion, the City Kickboxing product made quite a splash. After just six fights, Adesanya won the UFC interim middleweight championship and unified titles against ex-champion Robert Whittaker. Since then, the reigning UFC middleweight champion has remained on his throne, dispatching every challenger in his way. And for the next one, he stands across a familiar foe in Pereira.

Pereira continued kickboxing for four years before announcing he was also transitioning to MMA in the next phase of his career. In his return to the cage, ‘Po Atan’ scored a brutal first-round KO of Thomas Powell at LFA 95. That win put him firmly on the radar of the UFC and he was signed a year later. Three fights into his tenure, the Brazilian has earned a championship opportunity against Adesanya in one of the quickest paths to the title.

Why should you care?

Adesanya vs. Pereira has everything you could want from a fight. The storyline, the high stakes and the potential to deliver a ‘Fight of the Night’ outing. You definitely want to tune in for this one.

Official UFC 281 Fight Poster


BLOCKBUSTER TWO TITLE-FIGHT SHOWDOWN! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to MSG (Madison Square Garden) in NYC, NY, on Sat. NOV. 12, 2022, with a must-see thriller that will see perennial fan favorite, No. 1 ranked Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya (23-1), battle No. 3 division ranked contender, Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira (6-1), for the UFC Middleweight Championship. Meanwhile, in UFC 281’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, we get the current and two-time UFC Strawweight Champion, Carla ‘The Cookie Monster’ Esparza (19-6), defending her title opposite Zhang Weili (22-3). These bouts will be preceded by an exciting Lightweight barnburner between Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier and ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler, in a must-see barnburner.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

Share this story

About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

More from the author

Related Stories