Firas Zahabi praises UFC 281 stoppage: ‘Alex Pereira could have ended Israel Adesanya’s career’

Israel Adesanya
Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire

Tristar MMA head coach, Firas Zahabi has shared his thoughts on last weekend’s much-discussed UFC 281 headlining stoppage, claiming newly minted undisputed middleweight champion, Alex Pereira could have ended the career of Israel Adesanya had referee, Marc Goddard elected against intervening.

Taking main event honors at the Madison Square Garden event, Adesanya suffered a fifth round standing TKO loss to Brazilian challenger and past kickboxing rival, Pereira. 

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Falling to an onslaught of strikes at the Octagon fence from Sao Paulo finisher, Pereira in the final round of their main event bout, Adesanya was wobbled with an uppercut and then felled with the latter’s patented left hook.

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Returning to his feet in a bid to evade Pereira’s slew of follow-up strikes, Adesanya failed to evade the majority of the blows coming in his direction, with referee, Goddard calling a halt to the action, resulting in an immediate protest from Adesanya.

In the hours following the main event clash, Israel Adesanya claimed that he was not unhappy with the stoppage issued from Goddard. And according to Zahabi, the Nigerian-Kiwi should likely count himself lucky Pereira didn’t end his career in mixed martial arts entirely.

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“(Alex) Pereira could have very possibly ended (Israel) Adesanya’s career if the referee did not intervene,” Firas Zahabi said on his YouTube channel. “Guys, if the referee did not intervene, a scissor knee was coming. Guys, the greatest scissor knee I have seen in all of combat sports ever, is Alex Pereira. …”

“It’s an incredible knee from a giant, who’s incredibly explosive,” Firas Zahabi explained. “He throws it incredibly quick. I thought when Adesanya was dazed like that, the knee was coming. If Marc Goddard did not step in, it could have been a serious concussion, broken ajw, broken orbital, fractured skull even. It could have been something that ruined or ended Adesanya’s professional career. So I’m very grateful that Marc Goddard stopped it.” 

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Israel Adesanya chases immediate rematch with Alex Pereira

Off the back of his undisputed middleweight title loss, Israel Adesanya maintained he will score an immediate rematch with Pereira in his Octagon return, regardless if a championship is on the line or not.