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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira Booked for UFC 281 in New York City

Adesanya, Israel, UFC 276 ceremonial weigh-in. Image credit: Alex Behunin/CagesidePress

The much-anticipated showdown between old rivals Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira has been officially announced.

On Friday, UFC broadcast partner ESPN revealed that Adesanya (23-1) and Pereira (6-1) will face off at UFC 281 this November. The event will be held at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The fight was no surprise: Pereira’s winner against Sean Strickland last month was widely expected to get his next break at middleweight champion Adesanya. Still, the fight will be a highly anticipated one, with Pereira winning two kickboxing matches, including a knockout, over “The Last Style Bender.”

Adesanya defeated Robert Whittaker for the UFC’s undisputed middleweight title in 2019, after he won the interim belt at Kelvin Gastelum. Adesaya has been perfect at middleweight, defending his title five times since unifying the title.

The only blemish on Israel Adesanya’s record was a failure to secure a second title at light heavyweight, which resulted in a decisive loss to then-champ Jan Blachowicz.

Pereira started the transition to MMA in 2015 but took things up a notch in 2020, fighting in the LFA before jumping to the UFC the following year. He won all three fights inside the octagon, beating Andreas Michailidis, Bruno Silva and most recently Strickland.

There is no doubt that Pereira has the short cut to the title as a result of his history in Adesanya. The conspiracy surrounding a two-man rematch, albeit in a different sport, should be a big selling point for the UFC.

Pereira is currently No. 5 in the 185-pound class.

UFC 281 will be held at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022. So far, there have been no other reports of combat from the incident.

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