The fourth time appears to be the charm for Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya, who knocked out longtime rival Alex Pereira at UFC 287 on Saturday night in the second round of the main event. This matchup marked the second of two MMA showdowns between the two in the Octagon, which were preceded by two kickboxing fights. Pereira previously won all three bouts, twice by knockout, and remains the only member of the UFC roster to have ever successfully dethroned Adesanya from the top of the middleweight division.
Stylebender, however, showcased a steadfast determination to reclaim his crown this weekend. “I hope every one of you behind the screen or in this arena can feel this level of happiness just one time in your life,” he said in an Octagon interview, shortly after knocking Pereira out cold to take back the middleweight strap. “But guess what? You’ll never feel this level of happiness if you don’t go for something when they knock you down, when they try and s**t on you, when they talk s**t about you, when they try and put their foot on your neck. If you stay down, you will never ever get that result.”
“They say revenge is sweet, and if you know me, you know I got a sweet tooth,” he added, referencing his previous losses to Pereira — and how hard he’s worked to avenge them.
Stylebender also made a point of expressing respect and admiration for his greatest rival, telling audiences, “Alex is a great champion, no matter what. He lost the belt tonight, but he will always be the champion. In his story, I’m the antagonist. In his story, I’m the bad guy. But tonight, it’s my story. History.”
UFC 287 Full Main Card Results
Israel Adesanya def. Alex Pereira (KO, round 2)
Gilbert Burns def. Jorge Masvidal (unanimous decision)
Rob Font def. Adrian Yanez (TKO, round 1)
Kevin Holland def. Santiago Ponzinibbio (KO, round 3)
Christian Rodriguez def. Raul Rosas Jr. (unanimous decision)