Israel Adesanya set to defend title against Alex Pereira at Madison Square Garden

Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira are finally scheduled to face off after years of preparation. This time, their clash will be under mixed martial arts rules. The event will happen at one of the most renowned locations in the world, Madison Square Garden in New York.

Adesanya (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) will clash with  Pereira (6-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) during the main event of UFC 281.

There are currently no further bouts scheduled for the pay-per-view on November 12. However, a lightweight matchup between Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler is verbally agreed on.

The organization has hinted that this showdown will take occur even before UFC 276. Adesanya and Pereira each appeared on the card with Adesanya edging out Cannonier while Pereira blasted Sean Strickland to earn his title shot.


Fans have yearned for a clash between former Glory Kickboxing champion Pereira and his two-time opponent Adesanya ever since Pereira fully transitioned into mixed martial arts in 2020.

In the two kickboxing matches, Pereira has defeated Adesanya twice. Adesanya lost the first meeting against Pereira by a unanimous vote in April 2016, a judgment that Adesanya contests.

Adesanya is excited to face Pereira due to the fact that the majority of his recent opponents were defensive minded which in turn resulted in a lot of UFC fans turning on Adesanya after his measured performances.

Adesanya is currently 33 years old but he’s displayed a timid side of himself ever since he clashed with Yoel Romero in MArch of 2020. Since then, Adesanya had managed to finish only one bout – against Paulo Costa in 2020. That bout too started in a measured way but Adesanya had managed to strip the legs from under Costa with efficient calf kicks and ramp up his output in order to score a TKO finish close to end of round two and infamously hump Costa’s back.

Since then Adesanya had defended his title 4 times – in addition to challenging Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title and losing by decision. All 4 of these wins and Blachowicz loss went the full 5 rounds and ended via unanimous decisions (4-1).