The Ultimate announced on Friday night that the long-awaited fight between Israel Adesanya, middleweight champion, and Brazilian Alex “Poatan” Pereira will take place on November 12, in New York. The match will be the main event of UFC 281. The announcement was made on the American TV station “Espn”.
The image of the official announcement that Israel Adesanya and Alex Poatan will face each other at UFC 281, in New York – Photo: Reproduction/Instagram
It’s the opportunity for a Brazilian to take back the belt that once belonged to Murilo Bustamante in 2002 and Anderson Silva between 2006 and 2013. Since “Spider” lost the title to Chris Weidman and broke his leg in the rematch, three other Brazilians had chances , but hit the post: Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort, both defeated by Weidman, and Paulo Borrachinha, who lost to Adesanya himself in 2020.
The duel has been expected since Poatan signed with the company in 2021. The two fighters have nurtured a rivalry since the times when both competed in kickboxing. The Brazilian beat the Nigerian on two occasions, in 2016 and 2017. In the first, Pereira defeated Adesanya by unanimous decision of the judges; in the rematch, in Brazil, he knocked him out.
Since transitioning to MMA, Israel Adesanya, 33, has only lost once, when he moved up to light heavyweight (93kg) to challenge Jan Blachowicz for the belt. As a middleweight (84kg), he has 23 fights and 23 wins, including five belt defenses since he unified the division’s titles by knocking out Robert Whittaker in 2019.
Alex Pereira, 35, made a name for himself in kickboxing, where he was champion of two weight divisions at Glory, the sport’s main event. In MMA, after debuting with a loss in 2015, he 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 Cannonier, Poatan delighted him with a knockout of Sean Strickland, at the time fifth in the middleweight ranking.
With the match confirmed as the main event, UFC 281 now has two fights on the schedule. The other, announced earlier this week, will see lightweights Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler face off.
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