The victory was Pereira’s third over Adesanya in what was the Brazilian’s fourth fight in the UFC.
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Adesanya was almost certainly up on all of the scorecards having enjoyed a dominant third and fourth rounds.
Pereira looked to be struggling in the latter rounds too, having spent most of the third on the ground as Adesanya kept the pressure on him throughout.
But the 35-year-old flipped the script in the fifth and final round.
Adesanya went to check a kick but fell to the ground, although he did enough to scamper away and out of harm’s way.
Yet there was nothing he could do when Pereira had him with his back against the fence.
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The Brazilian teed off with several shots that didn’t appear to be doing too much damage on Adesanya.
However, Pereira eventually caught him with a big left hook that was the beginning of the end.
The Kiwi was on the wrong end of a barrage of strikes, eating shot after shot before referee Marc Goddard stepped in to wave off the fight and end his punishment.
Fans inside Madison Square Garden were left in disbelief, as were several others on social media who were stunned after witnessing Adesanya’s title reign come crashing down.
Originally published as UFC 2022: Alex Pereira defeats Israel Adesanya in stunning world title upset