- Tarrian Rodgers
Israel Adesanya recaptures gold with thrilling KO
What a night to be a combat sports fan. As knockouts were at a premium. For new champion Israel Adesanya no knockout was more significant as he finally took out his boogeyman Alex Periera. Adesanya was previously 0-3 against Pereira, having been knocked out in the last two. The most recent finish came on Nov. 12 in New York when Pereira, trailing three rounds to one on all three scorecards, rallied to knock Adesanya out in the fifth round at UFC 281 to win the middleweight title. Pereira also carried a 2-0 kickboxing record against Adesanya.
Pereira's success against Adesanya has labeled him with the nickname “Issy’s Boogeyman.” However, Saturday was a different story as Adesanya iced his rival with a stunning second round KO. The strategy for Pereria seemed to be attack the legs of Adesanya. Pereira landed early leg kicks that took Adesanya out of orthodox stance. Periera continued his onslaught into the second round and Adesanya started to buckle on his busted leg. However, it seemed like rope-a-dope as the new champ was able to catch his rival slipping. Adesanya came out of nowhere to counter with two vicious right hands and the champion fell to the canvas. Adesanya landed one final blow as Pereira was out cold.
After the fight the two rivals showed one another the respect and Adesanya adds to another chapter of his hall of fame career. In the co-main event Jorge Masvidal fought Gilbert Burns needing a win to avoid the first four-fight losing streak of his career, but it wasn't meant to be as Burns outworked "Gamebred" en route to a unanimous decision victory. The popular Miami native retired after the loss stating that he no longer has what it takes to compete at a successful manner.
Overall, this was an exciting night of fights; there were four major knockouts on this card that kept fans on the edge of their seats. The star of the night of course was the Nigerian born champion overcoming a major career hurdle.