Tonight, Madison Square Garden in New York City will host a packed UFC program, including two title fights and a bout featuring lots of bad blood.
Israel Adesanya defends the UFC middleweight title against Alex Pereira in the main event.
Their relationship dates back to their days of kickboxing. Pereira won both battles in April 2016 and March 2017, with Adesanya being carried out on a stretcher after being knocked unconscious in the latter.
This will be Adesanya’s sixth attempt to defend the UFC middleweight championship he won uncontested at UFC 243.
Adesanya has defended his championship successfully against Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, Marvin Vettori, Robert Whittaker, and Jared Cannonier since taking it from Whittaker. Adesanya’s first loss in mixed martial arts occurred when he battled former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz.
Pereira, who won middleweight and light heavyweight titles with GLORY Kickboxing, had three MMA bouts in Jungle Fight in 2015 and 2016, as well as a single bout in the LFA in 2020, before to joining the UFC.
Pereira has defeated Andreas Michailidis by submission at UFC 268, Bruno Silva by decision in March, and Sean Strickland by knockout at UFC 276.
Carla Esparza will defend her UFC women’s strawweight title against former champion Weili Zhang in the co-main event.
Esparza, who won the first championship in 2014, enters this round on a six-match winning run. Esparza’s second tenure as champion began in May at UFC 274, where she defeated Rose Namajunas via split decision in one of the most tedious title fights in UFC history.
In August 2019, Zhang won the strawweight title with a first-round knockout of Jessica Andrade. After successfully defending her title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in one of MMA’s greatest bouts, Zhang lost her belt to Rose Namajunas at UFC 261 and in their rematch at UFC 268. Zhang previously defeated Jedrzejczyk via knockout at UFC 275.
A highly anticipated lightweight bout between former interim champion Dustin Poirier and former Bellator champion Michael Chandler will also be featured on the show. Frankie Edgar’s retirement bout against Chris Gutierrez will also be shown.
UFC 281: Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira live results [UPDATED LIVE]
UFC 281: Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira Main Card (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT, ESPN+ PPV)
- Israel Adesanya takes against Alex Pereira for the UFC middleweight title.
- Carla Esparza versus Weili Zhang for the UFC women’s strawweight title
- Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler
- Frankie Edgar vs. Chris Gutierrez
- Dan Hooker vs. Claudio Puelles
- UFC 281: Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira Preliminary Card (ESPNews/ESPN+, 8:00 pm ET / 5:00 pm PT)
- Brad Riddell vs. Renato Moicano
- Dominick Reyes competes against Ryan Spann.
- Molly McCann opposes Erin Blanchard
- Andre Petroski vs. Wellington Turman
- UFC 281: Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira Preliminary Fight Card (ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass, 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT)
- Matt Frevola vs. Ottman Azaitar
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Silvana Gomez Juarez
- Choi Seung-woo opposes Michael Trizano
- Julio Arce vs. Montel Jackson
- Carlos Ulberg vs. Nicolae Negumereanu