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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Alex Pattle

UFC 281 time: When does Adesanya vs Pereira start in UK and US tonight?

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UFC women's strawweight Zhang Weili lifts heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou

Israel Adesanya’s three-year reign as UFC middleweight champion came to an end on Saturday night, as he was stopped by old kickboxing rival Alex Pereira in the final round.

Pereira entered New York City, Madison Square Garden, and the main event of UFC 281 with two wins over Adesanya from the pair’s kickboxing days, including a knockout victory five years ago. Adesanya, however, carried much greater mixed martial arts experience into the bout, with 23 wins and just one defeat as a professional, compared to the 6-1 record that his challenger had compiled. And Adesanya’s experience looked set to pay off, the Nigerian-born New Zealander outstriking “Poatan” in Round 1 and outgrappling the fatiguing Brazilian in the third and fourth frames.

However, a re-energised Pereira, 35, went in pursuit of a finish in the final round, eventually rocking Adesanya, 33, with a flurry of punches against the fence. Referee Marc Goddard stepped in as Adesanya failed to mount sufficient defence against the onslaught, and Pereira was declared the new champion as his old rival’s three-year reign came to an end. In the co-main event, Zhang Weili regained the women’s strawweight belt by submitting Carla Esparza, after Dustin Poirier submitted Michael Chandler, and former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar retired with a brutal KO loss.

Re-live round-by-round updates from the UFC 281 main card and prelims, below.

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