A New Middleweight King

By: Ronan McEvoy

UFC 281 was a potential fight card of the year as we saw a record first round finish, a lightweight war, and a brand-new middleweight champion. 

Alex Pereira defeated Israel Adesanya in the main event by standing KO in round five. The fight was back and forth early, but as the fight progressed it seemed like it would be another decision win for the champ. However, in the fifth round Pereira was able to throw a combo at Adesanya and connect with his infamous left hook. 

This shot rocked Adesanya, something we haven’t seen in a while, and Pereira did not let up on the onslaught and landed another flurry of shots before the ref stepped in and ended the fight .

After the fight Adesanya was very gracious in defeat and gave props to Pereira and mentioned that this rivalry between them is far from over. Adesanya wants to fight Pereira twice more and the fans seem to be thrilled. 

“I’d love to see them fight again,” said Tyler Mulhern, senior UFC fan. “It was a good fight to watch. I was expecting another decision win again but just knowing Pereira has that dynamite in his hands makes me want to see how Izzy will adjust.” 

In the co main event, Weili Zhang submitted Carla Esparza by rear naked choke in the second round. Zhang came into this fight as the favorite and it showed as Zhang dominated Esparza on the feet and was able to defend three out of the four takedowns from the experienced wrestler Esparza. 

It is unsure who Zhang will fight next, there are a few contenders like Amanda Lemos and Jessica Andrade, a trilogy against Rose Namajunas, or even moving up a weight division to fight Valentina Shevchenko to possibly become a two-weight world champion. 

“She should go for two belts,” said Marc Cohen, senior UFC fan. “I feel like we don’t see it enough in the women divisions. I think that fight would definitely be ones that fans want to see and a big draw to the women’s division.” 

The third fight on this card was between Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler and it was just as promised. Going into this fight we knew these two were brawlers and great grapplers, and they showed that on full display. 

Chandler started the fight with consistent pressure and was very kick heavy. This pressure put Dustin up against the cage where Chandler rocked him and it looked like Poirier was going to be out quick, but Poirier was able to survive and almost put Chandler away at the end of the first. The second round was full of wrestling and ground and pound strikes as Chandler was able to maintain a dominant position on the ground. In the third round, Porier was able to get a dominant position on the ground and was able to slip in a rear naked choke which got him the victory. 

“It was one of the best fights I’ve seen in a while,” said Chris Palko, senior UFC fan. “Chandler always brings it to every fight he is in and it is so entertaining to watch. Poirier is a dog though and I’m excited to see what’s next for both.” 

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