In the headlining match of UFC 281, Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya went to war over the middleweight throne. In the fifth round, Brazil’s ‘Poatan’ Pereira earned a stoppage knockout win. The referee Marc Goddard called off the fight as ‘The Last Stylebener’ was taking damage on the feet. Adesanya never hit the ground though. Some fighters and viewers believe that the fight could have continued.
On Twitter, Marc Goddard discussed the Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya TKO stoppage. The official explained:
“Thank you to all who understand the role in which we play, protection is paramount. Decisions are over the second they are made, the conscience lives forever. Honored, blessed & thankful. On the biggest stage there is, of the fighters, for the fighters – they remain the Kings.”
Between boxing, kickboxing, and MMA, the Nigerian-Kiwi Adesanya has been in 111 professional bouts. The referee Goddard made his stoppage decision motivated out of fighter safety. Israel Adesanya was slumped, leaning against the cage with his head facing down.
Israel Adesanya discusses the stoppage
The former world champion Israel Adesanya discussed the stoppage in an interview on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. ‘The Last Stylebender’ said that Goddard did a good job however he admits that he would have liked more time to work. Adesanya explained:
“I don’t blame the referee. Marc did a good job, but you see it when I get up. I’m fine. I was lucid, I didn’t get rocked rocked, I got hit against the fence and my thought was, ‘Escape, laterally, either left or right.’ I went right and as I was going right. It wasn’t because I was rocked, it was my foot.” [Transcipt Courtesy of BJ Penn.com]
Adesanya added that he was looking down as he was attempting to time a takedown. He continued:
“I was waiting for him to take big shots, so I put my head down; I could see his arms and I could see his legs. That’s all I needed to look at. I know where his head is. So I’m just there moving, moving, moving. But to the referee, after two big shots and then I wobble, and I’m standing there looking like that, he’s going to be like, ‘Nah.’ And he’s being safe. So when he jumped in I’m like, ‘I’m fine. Aw, f***.’ I was literally just disappointed, I was waiting for him to gas out so I can do my work. I was going to take him down and then beat him up again.”
See the full interview below: