Monster Energy’s Alex Pereira Takes UFC Middleweight Division Title by Knocking Out Israel Adesanya at UFC 281 in New York City

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Monster Energy congratulates Alex Pereira on defeating Israel Adesanya and claiming the UFC’s Middleweight Championship title at UFC 281 in New York City.

Monster Energy’s Alex Pereira Takes UFC Middleweight Division Title by Knocking Out Israel Adesanya at UFC 281 in New York City

“So many years of hard work and dedication, and here I am, champion of the world.” - Alex Pereira

Make way for the new champ! Monster Energy congratulates Alex Pereira on defeating Israel Adesanya and claiming the UFC’s Middleweight Championship title at UFC 281 in New York City. In Saturday night’s Main Event fight, the 35-year-old from São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, stopped the incumbent champion by TKO in the fifth round and earned the UFC’s $50,000 Performance of the Night Bonus.

UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira was contested in front of 20,845 live spectators at Madison Square Garden in New York City. UFC 281 prelims were broadcast live on ESPN+ and the main card aired on ESPN pay-per-view.

As the latest addition to Monster Energy’s mixed martial arts (MMA) roster, Alex Pereira (7-1) came to the headline event at Madison Square Garden on an unbroken three-fight victory streak since joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2021.

His opponent, reigning UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya (23-2), had previously defended his title five consecutive times since claiming the belt in 2019. At UFC 276 in July 22, the Nigerian maintained his title against Jared Cannonier and cemented his name as one of the most prolific fighters on the circuit.

Pereira had his mind set on claiming the UFC’s 185-pound championship belt and already knocked out Adesanya in 2017 at the Glory of Heroes 7 kickboxing event in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Would history repeat itself? Not that easily…

As the Main Event fight got underway, defending champion Adesanya brought the pressure and rocked Pereira hard with a one-two combination at the end of Round 1. In the second round, Pereira leveled the playing field by dealing damage with left hooks and scoring crucial points. But in Round 3, it was Adesanya who took the challenger to the mat and delivered a punishing axe kick in the final moments.

Heading into the championship rounds, Adesanya again landed the most significant strikes and scored Round 4 in his favor. With judge’s scorecards most likely tilted 3-1 in the champion’s favor, Pereira needed a finish in Round 5 – and he needed it fast.

What happened next is the kind of athletic performance the UFC was created for: Pereira came out swinging heavily into the final round. Landing big shots, the challenger pinned Adesanya against the fence and proceeded to deal stunning uppercuts and left hooks until referee Marc Goddard stepped in and ended the fight at 02:01 minutes with Pereira as the winner by TKO.

“So many years of hard work and dedication, and here I am, champion of the world,” said Monster Energy’s Pereira upon winning the Main Event fight at UFC 281.
The spectacular come-from-behind victory earned Pereira the UFC’s Performance of the Night bonus worth a $50,000 payout. And just like that, Pereira (7-1) claimed the UFC Middleweight Championship in what was only his fourth UFC fight – and fourth win in the promotion.

Saturday night marks the third UFC Performance of the Night bonus of Pereira’s career. The Brazilian made his UFC debut in November 2021 at UFC 268 and has since built a flawless record in the promotion. Previously, the former professional kickboxer and WGP Kickboxing Middleweight Champion also held MMA titles as the Glory Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Champion.

Alex Pereira counts amongst Monster Energy’s elite UFC athletes along with Kamaru Usman, Jon “Bones” Jones, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal, Chris “The All American” Weidman, Rose Namajunas, Tony Ferguson, Marlon Vera, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Maycee “The Future” Barber, Paulo “The Eraser” Costa, Stipe “Stone Cold” Miocic, Michael Chandler, Justin Gaethje, Jessica-Rose Clark, Valentina Shevchenko, Sean “Suga” O’Malley, Brandon Moreno, Daniel Rodriguez, and Giga “Ninja” Chikadze.
For more on Monster Energy’s MMA athletes, visit http://www.monsterenergy.com. Follow Monster Energy on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

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About Monster Energy
Based in Corona, California, Monster Energy is the leading marketer of energy drinks and alternative beverages. Refusing to acknowledge the traditional, Monster Energy supports the scene and sport. Whether motocross, off-road, NASCAR, MMA, BMX, surf, snowboard, ski, skateboard, or the rock and roll lifestyle, Monster Energy is a brand that believes in authenticity and the core of what its sports, athletes, and musicians represent. More than a drink, it’s the way of life lived by athletes, sports, bands, believers, and fans. See more about Monster Energy including all of its drinks at http://www.monsterenergy.com.

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Kimberly Paige Dresser
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