A major middleweight title showdown between current champion Israel Adesanya and his rival Alex Pereira has been officially confirmed as the main event for UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 12th.
Pereira is still relatively new to the UFC with just three wins in a row, but what makes this particular match-up so intriguing is the past history between these two fighters, as he holds the distinction of having beaten Adesanya twice during their kickboxing careers.
Both men were stars of the Glory kickboxing promotion for a number of years, and in 2016 they were matched up together for the first time and it was Pereira who emerged victorious via unanimous decision.
A year later they fought again and this time Pereira’s win was more emphatic, handing Adesanya the only KO loss of his entire career in combat sports.
That would prove to be the final fight of Adesanya’s kickboxing run as he then opted to move on to competing in MMA full-time, securing a UFC deal a year later and quickly rose up the ranks to become the middleweight division’s dominant champion.
Pereira remained in the kickboxing arena for a few more years, becoming Glory’s middleweight and light-heavyweight champion, before he too committed to MMA after signing a deal with the UFC in 2021.
Since then he’s racked up a TKO finish against Andreas Michailidis in his promotional debut, a decision win against Bruno Silva and most recently a first round KO stoppage against Sean Strickland.
Adesanya vs. Pereira is currently the only fight officially confirmed for UFC 281, though Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler has also been rumored to have been targeted for the show, while Frankie Edgar has also made it known he’d like to have his retirement fight on this card.