Years in the making, Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira are finally set to square off again. This time, it’ll be in MMA – on one of the biggest combat sports stages at one of the most iconic venues in the world.
UFC 281 is set for Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York and Adesanya (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) vs. Pereira (6-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is set to headline, the promotion announced Friday via broadcast partner ESPN.
No other bouts have been set for the Nov. 12 pay-per-view at this time, though a lightweight bout between Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler is being discussed, potentially for that date.
The matchup is the one the promotion has indicated would happen since UFC 276 took place July 6. On that pay-per-view card, both Adesanya and Pereira won. Adesanya successfully defended his title against Jared Cannonier, two fights after Pereira quickly knocked out Sean Strickland with his signature left hook.
Since former Glory Kickboxing champion Pereira went full-force into mixed martial arts in 2020, fans have hankered for a matchup against his two-time opponent Adesanya – even before he signed with the UFC in 2021.
As for the two kickboxing battles, Pereira is 2-0 against Adesanya. The first meeting took place in April 2016, during which Adesanya lost a unanimous decision to Pereira – a decision Adesanya disputes.
The rematch took place in March 2017 and the full highlights of the fight can be seen in the video above. As Adesanya outlined during his UFC 276 pre-fight news conference, he had Pereira hurt prior to a table-turning left hook knockout by his Brazilian opponent.
You can watch the two kickboxing fights in full here.