Pereira ends Adesanya’s reign

Alex Pereira has become the new UFC middleweight champion, claiming a fifth-round TKO win over Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya in the main event at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday morning.

The Last Style bender had mounted five successful defences since unifying the middleweight title more than three years ago, but he was simply blitzed by Pereira – who had notably beaten Adesanya twice in their kick-boxing careers – in the fifth round to see his reign come to  an end.

Pereira appeared to end the first round stronger with some body shots in a clinch on the fence, but Adesanya rocked the challenger with a right hand to the ear, followed by a devastating left hook which landed just after the buzzer sounded.

Pereira recovered well and took the second round thanks to some outstanding jabs, an impressive head-kick and a takedown seconds before the end, while the third was dominated by Adesanya, who scored his first career takedown, controlled his opponent’s right wrist and en­joyed significant control time in top position.

The fourth was more evenly matched, with Pereira recovering from looking visibly tired to land some fine blows, and the Brazilian carried that momentum into the final round and just short of two minutes in landed a huge left hook that wob­bled Adesanya and opened up the defences for Pereira to continue rain­ing blows, before the fight was called to a halt by the referee. —Backpage

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