In a fight where Israel Adesanya was seemingly pulling away after winning the 3rd and 4th rounds, Alex Pereira pulled out the victory via stoppage in the 5th and final round.
Pereira landed a dynamite left hand that ultimately spelled the beginning of the end for “Stylebender”.
The fight had nervous and tense moments throughout its duration. Adesanya actually dominated most of the action and even buckled “Poatan” at the end of the first round. Pereira looked like he was hurt but he was not at all fazed. He entered the next round and applied pressure on his opponent which in my opinion was the only round he won right before the stoppage came.
Pereira’s left hook will continue to live in Adesanya’s head, rent-free.
Adesanya, the formidable fighter that he is, has almost always proved to be a puzzle too difficult for his opponents to solve. But it does not seem to be the case for Alex Pereira. He and his team had a simple game plan and that is to put Izzy under pressure with the left hook. Every time it landed, it had a significant impact on the color of the fight. Even when it did not, Izzy was backed up to the cage or he was seen visibly wary of defending or dodging it. It’s almost as if that punch that put him to sleep in the past was still on his mind the entire time.
Lo and behold, very early in the 5th round, Izzy seemed to relax just a little bit. That gave Pereira all the opening he needed to land the left hand that snapped Izzy’s head which was brutally followed by a barrage of head strikes. And that’s all she wrote.
Aaaaaand new UFC Middleweight Champion, Alex “Poatan” Pereira!
Banner image from UFC on Twitter.