The UFC has found the headlining bout for its long-awaited return to Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12 in New York, Adesanya announced Friday on ESPN MMA’s “SportsCenter.” He will defend his belt against a former foe, who he’s already fought twice but in a different sport.
With only three outings under the banner, Pereira gets a title shot off the back of a vicious knockout win over the formerly fourth-ranked middleweight contender Sean Strickland. While he went into his bout against Strickland unranked, Pereira broke through into the top five rankings after the win.
The former two-division Glory champion has stepped inside the ring opposite Adesanya on two occasions in kickboxing. He won both outings, with the first coming by decision in 2016 and the second by way of knockout a year later. As the only man to have put Adesanya out cold on the canvas, his arrival into the promotion had fans clamoring for the highly-anticipated matchup.
UFC confirmed the booking, tweeting: “As announced on @SportsCenter, we have a 𝑴𝑨𝑺𝑺𝑰𝑽𝑬 main event set for MSG @Stylebender vs Alex Pereira is confirmed for #UFC281!“
[ Tickets on sale Friday August 26th 🎟 ] pic.twitter.com/vY5wNDS1OX
— UFC (@ufc) August 5, 2022
Adesanya Reacts to the UFC 281 Booking
“Stylebender” is coming off a successful title defense over Jared Cannonier during the International Fight Week card of UFC 276. Following a comfortable victory on the judges’ scorecards, Adesanya called out Pereira using a reference from the Disney animated kids movie “Frozen.”
Adesanya shared his reaction to the news online, tweeting: “#UFC281 “Vengeance is mine says the lord.” Brooooo I said the same thing too!! This ends here. Kill or be killed.”
He remains confident he will avenge the losses and is excited to fight an opponent that will look to attack him as opposed to being cautious in their approach and staying defensive like the recent string of challengers he faced.