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Israel Adesanya faces a unique challenge in the main event of UFC 281, as the middleweight champion puts the gold on the line against an old rival.
Adesanya’s only loss in mixed martial arts came last year as the Nigerian-born New Zealander challenged for the UFC light heavyweight title, but on Saturday he takes on Alex Pereira, who beat Adesanya twice during the pair’s kickboxing days.
Brazilian Pereira, 35, outpointed and knocked out Adesanya, 33, across two bouts and will seek to replicate that success when he faces the “Last Stylebender” at Madison Square Garden.
In the co-main event, Weili Zhang looks to regain the strawweight title as she faces champion Carla Esparza, after Dustin Poirier takes on Michael Chandler in a highly-anticipated lightweight clash.
Here’s all you need to know.
When is it?
UFC 281 takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday 12 November.
The early prelims will start at 11pm GMT (4pm PT, 6pm CT, 7pm ET), with the prelims following at 1am GMT on Sunday 13 November (6pm PT, 8pm CT, 9pm ET on Saturday). The main card then begins at 3am GMT (8pm PT, 10pm CT, 11pm ET on Saturday).
How can I watch it?
The card will air live on BT Sport in the UK, with the broadcaster’s app and website also streaming the fights.
In the US, ESPN+ will stream the action live, as will the UFC’s Fight Pass.
Israel Adesanya (pictured) lost to Alex Pereira twice during the pair’s kickboxing days
Adesanya – 4/7; Pereira – 7/5.
Esparza – 13/5; Zhang – 2/7.
Poirier – 8/15; Chandler – 6/4.
Israel Adesanya (C) vs Alex Pereira (middleweight title)
Carla Esparza (C) vs Weili Zhang (women’s strawweight title)
Dustin Poirier vs Michael Chandler (lightweight)
Frankie Edgar vs Chris Gutierrez (bantamweight)
Dan Hooker vs Claudio Puelles (lightweight)
Weili Zhang will look to become a two-time strawweight champion against Carla Esparza
Renato Moicano def. Brad Riddell via first-round submission (rear naked choke, 3:20)
Ryan Spann def. Dominick Reyes via first-round knockout (punch, 1:20)
Erin Blanchfield def. Molly McCann via first-round submission (Kimura, 3:37)
Andre Petroski def. Wellington Turman via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Matt Frevola def. Ottman Azaitar via first-round KO (2:30)
Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Silvana Gomez Juarez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Michael Trizano def. Seung Woo Choi via first-round KO (4:51)
Montel Jackson def. Julio Arce via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Carlos Ulberg def. Nicolae Negumereanu via first-round KO (3:44)