Marc Goddard defends stoppage of Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya at UFC 281; ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’

Marc Goddard

MMA referee Marc Goddard stands by his stoppage of the UFC 281 main event between Alex Pereria and Israel Adesanya.

Pereira shocked the world when he knocked out ‘The Last Stylebender’ in the fifth round of their November 12th main event at Madison Square Garden, capturing the UFC middleweight championship in the process. With just minutes left in the contest, Pereira pressed the panic button and delivered a barrage of strikes on Adesanya, rocking the former world champion in the process. With Adesanya unable to escape the danger or return fire, Marc Goddard stepped in and called for the stoppage.

‘Stylebender’ immediately protested the call, believing he was still actively defending and in no real danger. Fans were seemingly split on the call with some calling it premature while others felt Marc Goddard did the right thing by saving Adesanya from having his lights inevitably turned off.

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Marc Goddard Would Make the Same Decision ’11 Times Out of 10′

Appearing at the World MMA Awards, Marc Goddard briefly spoke with MMA Junkie who asked the highly respected referee about his decision in retrospect.

“I feel very good,” Goddard stated. “Israel, I think he’s a great guy. I think he was a fantastic champion. I’m not just saying it because I’m here. I like the guy a lot. I like all the fighters. That’s my job, I’m down the line, and if I done that fight again, 11 times out of 10 I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m very comfortable with my actions, and the people who know me will know I’m my harshest critic.

“It’s a very fine line. We don’t get second takes, reverse angles, etc. People find it weird when we say we’re there to protect the fighters when they knock hell’s bells out of each other for 25 minutes. … At the end of the day, my job is to act instinctually and correctly to protect the guys. It was an amazing fight. Congratulations to Alex, all the respect in the world to Izzy. I’m happy with what I did.”

Heading into the final round, Israel Adesanya was up 39-37 on all three scorecards.

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