Israel Adesanya lost to Alex Pereira for a third time on Saturday, costing the UFC champion his middleweight belt, but he is already looking forward to a rematch.

Pereira is the only fighter ever to have stopped Adesanya, knocking him out in one of a pair of kickboxing wins.

And at UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden, the Brazilian repeated the trick, winning by TKO in the final round of a bout Adesanya had enjoyed the better of to that point.

Adesanya was not impressed by the stoppage, saying: "I'm grateful. What a life, what a moment.

"It's f***ing crazy, isn't it? It's similar to the last time – same story. It's crazy. I was fine, I was still lucid, but s*** happens.

"I talked to my coaches, and I trust them, but I was fine. I could see everything. My eyes might have rolled back a little bit, but I was lucid."

It was only a second UFC defeat for Adesanya and his first at middleweight, where he had been champion since 2019. Pereira only entered the UFC for the first time last November.

But Adesanya accepts the risk of defeat as part of the role as champion, replying when asked if he would be pursuing a rematch: "Of course, of course. Come on, man.

"This was my third fight in 10 months. Every time I fight, I risk losing what you guys deem as the prestigious belt.

"I put it on the line because I'm not trying to just fight once and then chill, do my lap around and parade as a champion and not risk so much.

"I put it on the line, and this is what happens. Dare to be great – and I am."

Adesanya referred to Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayal of Jordan Belford in The Wolf of Wall Street as he added: "'I'm not f***ing leaving'. Yeah, I'm still right here. I'm not going anywhere."

Israel Adesanya retained the UFC Middlewieght Championship with a fifth consecutive title defence, winning via unanimous decision over Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 on Saturday.

In an ultimately tentative fight, the judges awarded the Stylebender the win in a 49-46 49-46 50-45 contest, making it four out of his last five title defences to come via decision.

Largely in control since coming back to fight at middleweight, the 32-year-old immediately called out Alex Pereira, who Sean Strickland via knockout earlier in the night.

Pereira also knocked out Adesanya at GOH 7 in 2017, before the latter joined the UFC the next year, with Saturday's bouts setting up an enticing rematch.

"One thing I was looking forward to was facing Jared as an opponent, but the second thing I was looking forward to was John Crouch versus Eugene Bareman," he said post-fight.

"Two great coaches, two great teams, and I'll tell you one thing, they had an excellent game plan. It was really hard to get my follow-ups going because they had a good game plan.

"We know who's next, that Poatan [Pereira]. Trust me. The first time, I told you, it was an error on my part spamming right hands and that was in kickboxing. Like I said at the press conference, next time I put you on skates."

Cannonier was initially content to stand up with Adesanya, only making sporadic take-down attempts and opting instead to chip away with leg-kicks and wait for big strikes.

More than his unique striking, however, the Stylebender was particularly assertive in the opening two rounds, initiating the exchanges as well as changing up stances.

Cannonier taking the third made for tight closing two rounds, but Adesanya ultimately did not take on any significant damage over the fight.

Importantly, whenever Cannonier would look to force the issue, the reigning champion managed to tag the challenger to halt any progress and retain his title.

Volkanovski dominates Holloway for 12th straight UFC win

In the co-main event, Adesanya's team-mate Alexander Volkanovski reaffirmed his status as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC, retaining the Featherweight Championship in a unanimous decision over Max Holloway.

Each of the judges scored the fight 50-45 to Volkanovski but even that belied just how dominant the 33-year-old was over the five rounds, showing extraordinary precision, explosiveness and tactical nous.

While the second fight between the two was closer, Volkanovski neutralised Holloway's reach and height advantage this time, with timing, quickness and power in his striking - cutting Holloway up badly above his left eye in the first round.

Vokanovski lacked the final blow but was in control, claiming a 3-0 record over Holloway on the way to a 12th straight win in the UFC, a fourth title defence and a 25-1 record in professional MMA.

Drake is no stranger to putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to sporting events.

The rap sensation clearly enjoys a flutter, once announcing a huge bet placed on Odell Beckham Jr's performance at Super Bowl LVI – reportedly placing down $1.26million on that occasion.

Drake, who dropped his new album 'Honestly, Nevermind' last month, has now dabbled big again – this time on Israel Adesanya (21-1-0), who is set to defend his middleweight title against Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Drake told 'The Last Stylebender' on a video call: "You know I put a light million up, I wasn't playing. Return on investment is a lot."

Adesanya has a formidable record and has defended his lightweight belt successfully against Robert Whittaker, Marvin Vettori, Paulo Costa, and Yoel Romero.

Jan Blachowicz is the only man to have put a loss on his record, when Adesanya stepped up a division to fight for the light heavyweight championship in March 2021.

Alexander Volkanovski defends his featherweight title against Max Holloway in the co-main event at T-Mobile Arena.


Jamaican Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight Randy “Rude Boy” Brown in putting Jamaican Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) on the map, but he wants to take the scenic route to the top.

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Jamaican parents before moving to Jamaica as a toddler with his mother and then returning to the States at 16, the 31-year-old Brown entered the UFC in 2014 and has a record 9-4 with the MMA superpower and 15-4 overall in his career, with his last loss coming in August 2020 against current number-6 ranked Welterweight Vicente Luque from Brazil.

He’s built up some momentum going 3-0 in his last three fights with a possible date with a top-15 opponent on the horizon, something Brown says is not a priority at the moment.

“Honestly, I am knocking on the door of the top 15 but I’m not particularly in a rush to fight anybody in the top 15 right now because I feel like in the top 15, everybody is really trying to guard their ranking so you don’t really fight as consistently as you would like to,” Brown told Sportsmax.TV.

“Personally, I would like to fight a couple more outside of the rankings to build up the streak a little bit more and, you know, let the money grow as well. When the money grows and gets where it needs to get to then we look at the rankings and be able to afford fighting once a year. As of right now, I just want to fight consistently,” he added.

An exciting fighter to watch, Brown cited legends of the sport when asked about who influenced his style of mixed martial arts.

“Anderson Silva 100 per cent. Growing up watching Anderson Silva was a huge inspiration for me and, if we’re speaking current fighters, other people that influence me a lot right now are Israel Adesanya and Jon Jones,” Brown said.

Israel Adesanya has retained his UFC middleweight title after defeating Australian Robert Whittaker by unanimous decision in their re-match at UFC 271 on Saturday.

The Nigerian, who boasts an imposing 23-1 record, triumphed 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 to remain undefeated in the middleweight decision which he has dominated.

Adesanya had defeated Whittaker in a second-round knockout at UFC 243 in 2019 but the Australian put up a much better fight this time around with new tactics.

Whittaker took down Adesanya several times throughout the bout, also the champion found an edge by landing punches and kicks to his opponents' face, legs and ribs.

Adesanya started the better, before Whittaker took him down in the second round, landing several punches to the face, but the champion managed to escape his hold and respond with a few blows.

Whittaker again took down Adesanya in the fourth round, attempting to lock in a choke as he rode his back, but he managed to break free.

The Australian continued to try take down Adesanya whose ability to escape was critical to holding his victory, along with his attacking punches and kicks.

"I knew he was going to bring everything because last time I took everything away from him," Adesanya said after the bout. "I'm the big dog in this yard so he couldn’t take me down at all."

Whittaker felt like he had done enough to claim victory and admitted he was surprised by the judges' decision yet gracious in defeat.

"I was surprised with the decision," Whittaker said. "I started off rocky in that first round. I felt like I had it after that. It is what it is.

"I'm happy I fought my heart out. I'm gutted, I thought I did enough, I thought I took that."

Adesanya's next opponent may be third-ranked Jared Cannonier (15-5) who knocked out Derek Brunson in the second round of their middleweight bout earlier on Saturday. Cannonier said after the fight that he wants a chance against Adesanya.

Tuivasa knocks out KO king Lewis

In the co-main event, Tai Tuivasa claimed victory over Derrick Lewis with a second-round knockout in the heavyweight division.

Tuivasa extended his run of wins by knockout to five, responding after being taken down twice in the first round by landing a decisive elbow to Lewis' face.

“That’s the king of knockouts,” Tuivasa said afte the bout. “But like I said, I’m young... and I’m taking over now.”

The Australian moves into contention for a title shot against Francis Ngannou.

Israel Adesanya successfully defended his middleweight title once again, beating Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision in their rematch at UFC 263 in Arizona. 

UFC star Adesanya – who defeated Vettori by split decision in April 2018 – navigated five rounds with minimal difficulty, prevailing 50-45 on all three judges' scorecards in his third title defence since taking the belt with a knockout of Robert Whittaker in October 2019. 

Adesanya's only potential trouble spot came early in the third round on Saturday when Vettori knocked down the Nigeria-born New Zealander, but he weathered that challenge and handled everything else the Italian threw at him. 

A rematch with Whittaker seems on the cards as Adesanya (21-0) called out the Australian following his win, demanding a showdown in Auckland, New Zealand.

"You don't get to decide -- I get to decide," Adesanya said. "Because I'm the mother****** king, b****!"

Whittaker responded with a tweet that read "rest up, see you soon." 



Moreno first Mexican-born champ

In the co-headline bout, Brandon Moreno dominated Deiveson Figueiredo to take the Brazilian's flyweight strap and become the first Mexican-born UFC champion. 

Saturday's fight was in sharp contrast to the pair's draw at UFC 256 in December, as Moreno (19-5-2) had his way with the titleholder from the beginning. 

The 27-year-old from Tijuana submitted Figueiredo with a rear naked choke at 2:26 of the third round and exulted in his victory.

"UFC released me," Moreno said. "I wasn't that proud of my life but watch me holding this belt. I feel so amazing."

Figueiredo (20-2-1) was gracious in defeat, saying Moreno was "the better man tonight."


Edwards holds off late Diaz flurry

Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz made UFC history with the first non-main event, non-title bout to be scheduled for five rounds, and Diaz nearly made the extended term pay off. 

Edwards had his way for most of the fight but had to survive a furious flurry from the bloodied 36-year-old American in the fifth to win by unanimous decision, 49-46 on all cards. 

The pair had been scheduled to face off at UFC 262 last month, but the bout was pushed back when Diaz got cut in training. 

Jan Blachowicz says he wants to fight Glover Teixeira next following Saturday's victory over Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 in Las Vegas.

Light heavyweight champion Blachowicz won by unanimous decision to defend his title and hand Nigeria-born New Zealand-based Adesanya the first defeat of his mixed martial arts career.

Blachowicz, who won 49-46, 49-45, 49-45, is now eyeing his next bout and identified Teixeira, who was a backup for Sunday's event, as his preferred opponent.

Teixeira, 41, has a 32-7 mixed martial arts record and last beat Thiago Santos by submission in November.

"I think he deserves that, and I would like to fight against Glover next because he deserves [it]," Blachowicz said.

"He is not so young, so he doesn't have time and I want to fight against him when he's in good shape, not later.

"But we have to wait a little bit because right now I want to rest, spend some time with my family, so if he wants to wait, he will be next."

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