UFC 281: "Adesanya vs Pereira" Live Play-By-Play & ResultsThe Ultimate Fighting Championship headed to Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York tonight for UFC 281: “Adesanya vs Pereira.” The event was headlined by a UFC Middleweight Championship bout between Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya and Alex “Poatan” Pereira.

In the co-main event, UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza defended her title against former champ Weili “Magnum” Zhang. Elsewhere on the main card, Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier battled “Iron” Michael Chandler. MMARising.com has live play-by-play for UFC 281.


UFC Middleweight Championship

Alex “Poatan” Pereira vs Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya

Round 1:
Pereira landed quick leg and body kicks during the opening minute of the fight and Adesanya pawed out with jabs. He countered a calf kick from Pereira with an overhand right that backed Pereira up. Adesanya landed two leg kicks and went high with a head kick attempt that was blocked. He continued to throw leg kicks and Pereira landed one to the body. He missed with two left hooks and the fighters clinched. Pereira punched to the body and the fighters separated. Adesanya badly rocked Pereira with a right-left combo, but he was saved by the bell. 10-9 Adesanya.

Round 2:
Pereira recovered between rounds and he resumed marching forward in round two. Two jabs landed for Pereira and he missed with a spinning wheel kick attempt. Pereira blocked a head kick and landed two hard jabs. A clinch followed and both men landed knees to the body. Adesanya looked for a takedown and Pereira stayed on his feet. The fighters separated and Adesanya landed a right hook. Pereira landed three stiff jabs and a knee. After a brief clinch, Pereira landed a head kick and he took Adesanya down in the final seconds. 10-9 Pereira.

Round 3:
Adesanya countered a body kick from Pereira with a takedown into side control. He took Pereira’s back and landed right hands to the side of his face. Pereira got to one knee and Adesanya switched to throwing left hands that opened a cut on Pereira’s left ear. Pereira rolled to his back and Adesanya worked from the top in his guard. In the final seconds, Adesanya stood up and landed an axe kick to Pereira’s body. He finished the round with hammerfists to the side of Pereira’s head. 10-9 Adesanya.

Round 4:
Adesanya used his jab to set up an overhand right in the fourth round. He landed another one, followed by kicks to Pereira’s lead leg and body. Pereira mounted almost no offence at all and Adesanya continued to kick him in the leg. He secured a body lock and held Pereira against the fence. Pereira broke free from the clinch and he walked forward with punches that missed. Adesanya tied him up in another body lock and missed with an elbow on the break. 10-9 Adesanya.

Round 5:
The fighters battled in a clinch against the cage in the final round. As they separated, Adesanya threw a leg kick and Pereira checked it. Adesanya lost his balance and rolled backward. As he rose to his feet, Pereira chased after him, but Adesanya circled away to his right. Pereira hurt him with a left hook and a wobbly Adesanya leaned against the cage to stay up. Pereira followed with uppercuts and hooks, and Adesanya fell to a knee. He stood back up and Pereira continued to land punches, prompting referee Marc Goddard to stop the fight.

Winner: Alex Pereira by TKO (Punches) at 2:01 of round five. He improves to 7-1-0 and becomes the new UFC Middleweight Champion.


UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship

Weili “Magnum” Zhang vs Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza

Round 1:
Zhang kept her distance and kicked at Esparza’s lead leg and body. She followed with a right hand and Esparza shot in for a takedown. Zhang countered with a rear-naked choke attempt and Esparza escaped once. Zhang took her back again and hunted for a second choke. Esparza turned over into Zhang’s guard and she dropped two elbows from the top. Zhang kicked her off and the fighters returned to their feet. Esparza caught a body kick and Zhang punched her in the face to defend. Zhang wound up in top position on the ground and she landed more punches late in the round. 10-9 Zhang.

Round 2:
Esparza stepped forward with a lunging one-two and Zhang countered with a hard right hand. Esparza attempted a takedown and Zhang countered by trapping her in a rear crucifix. She locked on a rear-naked choke and Esparza tapped out with her one free arm. Impressive submission for Zhang.

Winner: Weili Zhang by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:05 of round two. She improves to 23-3-0 and becomes the new UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion.


Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier vs “Iron” Michael Chandler

Round 1:
Chandler struck first with a straight right hand and he countered a left hook from Poirier with two body kicks. Chandler pressed forward with punching combinations and he stunned Poirier with two right hooks. Poirier recovered and he landed a lead right hand in response. Chandler faked a shot and the fighters clashed heads. As Poirier took a step backward, Chandler swarmed on him with punches and he landed three more big right hands. Chandler took Poirier down and held on to his back as Poirier rose to his feet. He suplexed Poirier, but Poirier stood again. Two hard left hooks landed for Poirier, but Chandler cracked him with a right. Poirier dropped Chandler to a knee with a right hook and then chased after him with more punches. Chandler retreated to the cage and Poirier landed a huge elbow at the bell. Fantastic round. 10-9 Poirier.

Round 2:
The second round began with a takedown from Chandler, who blasted Poirier with an elbow. Poirier attempted a triangle choke from the bottom and Chandler avoided it. He took Poirier’s back and worked for a rear-naked choke. Poirier turned over and got back to full guard, where he looked to set up a kimura on Chandler’s right arm. Chandler freed his arm and landed a series of punches including several that landed to the back of Poirier’s head. 10-9 Chandler. Potentially even a 10-8.

Round 3:
Poirier landed a leg kick and a straight left hand to begin round three. He avoided a takedown from Chandler and landed a right hand, but Chandler elevated him into the air and slammed him down. Poirier quickly countered by taking Chandler’s back and he locked on a rear-naked choke. Chandler tapped out almost immediately, ending a thrilling fight.

Winner: Dustin Poirier by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 2:00 of round three. He improves to 29-7-0, 1 NC.


Chris “El Guapo” Gutierrez vs Frankie “The Answer” Edgar

Round 1:
Gutierrez opened the fight with jabs and a lead left hook, then followed with a spinning backfist that landed flush. Edgar was unfazed and he continued to move forward. Gutierrez landed two leg kicks and Edgar ducked his head seconds later. Gutierrez landed a perfectly-timed knee that knocked Edgar out and sent him crashing to the mat.

Winner: Chris Gutierrez by KO (Knee) at 2:01 of round one. He improves to 19-4-2.


Dan “The Hangman” Hooker vs Claudio “Prince of Peru” Puelles

Round 1:
Hooker used early leg kicks to keep Puelles at a distance during the opening 90 seconds. Puelles dove into a scissor heel hook attempt and then switched to a kneebar. Hooker figure-foured his legs to defend and tried to take Puelles’s back. Puelles extended Hooker’s left leg again and cranked on another kneebar. Hooker stayed calm and he stood up after freeing his leg. He cracked Puelles with a hard right cross and Puelles voluntarily flopped to his back in hopes that Hooker would follow. 10-9 Hooker despite the submission attempts.

Round 2:
In the second round, Hooker landed a right cross and a head kick. Puelles was unable to take him down and Hooker landed a lead left hook. He followed with another one and Puelles latched on to his leg. Hooker countered with a guillotine choke and Puelles immediately released his grip on the leg. Puelles repeatedly dove at Hooker’s ankle and had no success in his attempts to take Hooker down. Hooker landed punches and elbows to the side of Puelles’s body. The fighters stood and Hooker landed a front kick to the body. Puelles repeatedly flopped and tried to get Hooker to follow. When he stood up, Hooker dropped him with a front kick to the sternum and the fight was justifiably stopped.

Winner: Dan Hooker by TKO (Kick To The Body) at 4:06 of round two. He improves to 22-12-0.


(Undercard results and play-by-play on Page Two.)