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 Post subject: [Event] UFC 281 - Adesanya vs. Pereira - Nov 12
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2022 3:50 pm 
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UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira is an upcoming mixed martial arts event produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship that will take place on November 12, 2022, at the Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, United States.


Fight card

Main card


Middleweight Israel Adesanya (c) vs. Alex Pereira Middleweight Championship
Women's Strawweight Carla Esparza (c) vs. Zhang Weili Women's Strawweight Championship
Lightweight Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler
Bantamweight Frankie Edgar vs. Chris Gutiérrez
Lightweight Dan Hooker vs. Claudio Puelles


Preliminary card (ESPNews / ESPN+)

Lightweight Brad Riddell vs. Renato Moicano
Light Heavyweight Dominick Reyes vs. Ryan Spann
Women's Flyweight Molly McCann vs. Erin Blanchfield
Middleweight Andre Petroski vs. Wellington Turman


Early preliminary card (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)

Lightweight Matt Frevola vs. Ottman Azaitar
Women's Strawweight Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Silvana Gómez Juárez
Featherweight Michael Trizano vs. Choi Seung-woo
Bantamweight Julio Arce vs. Montel Jackson
Light Heavyweight Carlos Ulberg vs. Nicolae Negumereanu




Background

A UFC Middleweight Championship bout between current champion Israel Adesanya and former Glory Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Champion Alex Pereira is expected to headline the event. The pairing previously met twice in kickboxing matchups. The first in April 2016 which Pereira won by unanimous decision. Their second meeting took place at Glory of Heroes 7 in March 2017 which Pereira won by third round knockout.

A UFC Women's Strawweight Championship bout between current two-time champion Carla Esparza and former champion Zhang Weili is expected to take place at the event.

A lightweight bout between Matt Frevola and returning veteran Ottman Azaitar has been rescheduled for this event. The pairing was previously scheduled to meet in January 2021 at UFC 257, but Azaitar was pulled from the bout and had his contract briefly terminated after it was determined that he had violated COVID-19 health and safety protocols, as he attempted to help others enter the UFC's designated safety zone during fight week.






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 Post subject: Re: [Event] UFC 281 - Adesanya vs. Pereira - Nov 12
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2022 12:01 am 
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UFC 281 features one of the most complete lineups of the year, with a host of matchups carrying divisional significance, the final appearance of a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and a grudge match in the lightweight division, all capped by a pair of outstanding championship fights.

Here’s a closer look at what’s on tap.



Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira

Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira will finally share the Octagon, with the UFC middleweight title hanging in the balance and the lingering questions about the rivalry between the two likely to be answered.

Adesanya is undefeated at middleweight and 23-1 for his career, having re-affirmed his standing as the top fighter in the 185-pound weight class twice already this year with successful title defenses against Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier. Pereira punched his ticket to this championship opportunity having earned victories over Bruno Silva and Sean Strickland, bringing him full circle to where his UFC adventure began last year with a victory over Andreas Michailidis.

This is the fight everyone has been hoping to see since Pereira signed with the UFC and debuted last November at MSG. He beat Adesanya twice during their kickboxing days — once by knockout and once by decision — and many have wondered if the Brazilian is the destined to be the one to dethrone the confident and talented titleholder.

Adesanya has both acknowledged Pereira’s previous wins and downplayed them all the same, correctly pointing out that they (a) came in a completely different sport with a completely different set of rules, and (b) happened years ago, but that doesn’t mean questions about whether it could happen again in MMA aren’t valid.

Everything about this fight is fascinating and it should be a tense, thrilling way to close out the night in “The City That Never Sleeps.”


Carla Esparza vs Zhang Weili

Before Adesanya and Pereira renew acquaintances, Carla Esparza will kick off her second reign atop the strawweight division with a title defense against former champion Zhang Weili.

More than seven years and 12 fights after defeating Rose Namajunas to become the inaugural UFC strawweight champion, Esparza scored a split decision win over Namajunas to claim the title for a second time. It was an awkward contest with limited action on both sides, but Esparza managed to land on the happy side of the split decision verdict, extending her winning streak to six and joining Namajunas as the second two-time champion in the division’s history.

Zhang will look to turn that two-person club into a three-person group by snatching the title from her in her first title defense. The Chinese powerhouse secured the opportunity to once again challenge for the title with a second-round knockout win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk in June, and now aims to replicate the performance the retired Polish superstar turned in when she finished Esparza at UFC 185 to claim the title.

At its core, this is a classic clash of styles between the wrestler Esparza and the striker Zhang, but there are layers to this contest that give it complexity and intrigue, and questions about how each fighter will approach this matchup that can only be answered by closing the Octagon door and watching how things play out.


Dustin Poirier vs Michael Chandler

There are innumerable times where a fight consists of two individuals with no history or tension between them; it’s just a meeting between two competitors looking to forward their careers, and fighting one another is the only way to make that happen.

This isn’t one of those times.

Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler don’t like each other, and the accomplished lightweights are finally going to settle their differences inside the Octagon.

Poirier competes for the first time since failing in his bid to wrest the lightweight title away from Charles Oliveira last December, while Chandler aims to build on his win over Tony Ferguson in May while returning to the scene of his most recent defeat. Both are all-action fighters with a predilection for putting on wildly entertaining fights, so it stands to reason that a matchup between the two carries legitimate Fight of the Year potential.

They’ve done the pushin’ and shovin’ at an earlier event already and followed it with plenty of additional verbal jousting, so now it’s time to tape up, make the walk, and get down to business.


Frankie Edgar vs Chris Gutierrez

Frankie Edgar looks to end his career on a high note as he makes the walk for the last time against Chris Gutierrez.

Edgar is a former lightweight champion, two-time featherweight title challenger, and three-division contender with his spot in the UFC Hall of Fame already reserved. But as he makes the walk on Saturday night, he’s a 41-year-old fighter coming off consecutive knockout losses, with one win in his last five outings and only two victories in his last seven fights.

Gutierrez, on the other hand, has earned three straight wins and is unbeaten in his last seven, having most recently earned a second-round stoppage win over Danaa Batgerel in March. The Factory X Muay Thai representative has never been in better form, and has the chance to earn the highest profile victory of his career this weekend in New York City.

Will Edgar end things by turning back the clock and collecting one last win or will Gutierrez make it a somber farewell and a third straight loss for “The Answer” as he moves into retirement?


Dan Hooker vs Claudio Puelles

Dan Hooker returns to lightweight following a one-bout departure for featherweight, and Peruvian grappler Claudio Puelles is more than happy to greet him.

The 32-year-old “Hangman” is one of those fighters whose recent results don’t accurately represent his skills and abilities. Hooker enters Saturday’s contest on a two-fight skid with just a single victory in his last five, but those loses have come to top featherweight contender Arnold Allen, new lightweight champ Islam Makhachev, Chandler, and Poirier.

Prior to that run, the New Zealander earned seven victories in eight fights, including stoppage wins over Jim Miller and Gilbert Burns, and decision nods over Al Iaquinta and Paul Felder.

Puelles touches down in “The Big Apple” riding a five-fight winning streak that includes three victories by kneebar. The former Ultimate Fighter: Latin America finalist has earned back-to-back wins with the rarely seen finish and has looked like a fighter that is coming into his own since returning to active competition in the summer of 2021.

This is a massive moment for each man, as Hooker looks to show he’s still capable of being a threat in the lightweight division and turn aside the ascending youngster, while Puelles aims to collect the biggest win of his career and make a case for a place in the rankings with a sixth consecutive victory.

Buckle up because this should be an absolute rollercoaster to kick off the main card.


Brad Riddell vs Renato Moicano

Talented lightweights Brad Riddell and Renato Moicano meet in the final preliminary card bout of the evening, each with designs on getting things moving in the right direction as we head towards 2023.

Riddell forced his way into the Top 15 on the strength of a four-fight run of success to begin his UFC career, culminating with a unanimous decision win over Drew Dober at UFC 263. Since then, “Quake” has suffered back-to-back stoppage losses — the first against Rafael Fiziev last December, and the second at UFC 276, when he was stunned and forced to tap in 45 seconds by Jalin Turner.

Moicano has gone 3-2 since moving to lightweight at the start of 2020, boasting submission wins over Damir Hadzovic, Jai Herbert, and Alexander Hernandez alongside losses to Fiziev and former champ Rafael Dos Anjos. The longtime featherweight contender is just 5-5 over his last 10 appearances after starting his career with an 11-0-1 mark.

One of these two veterans is going to get back into the win column, while the other is going to continue searching for answers with the bitter taste of defeat in their mouth, and figuring out who will land in each role should be entertaining theatre.


Dominick Reyes vs Ryan Spann

Former light heavyweight title challenger Dominick Reyes looks to snap a three-fight slide as he returns to action against Ryan Spann on Saturday night.

It’s been well over a year since Reyes last competed and a strange second career chapter for the talented fighter from Hesperia, California. After winning his first dozen fights, including each of his first five UFC appearances, Reyes faced Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title at UFC 247, dropping a unanimous decision in a bout that many believed he won.

Jones ultimately vacated and Reyes faced off with Jan Blachowicz for the vacant title at UFC 253, where he was knocked out in the second round. Six months later, he suffered the same fate against current champ Jiri Prochazka.

Through his first eight UFC starts, Spann is 6-2 with four finishes, but it’s his setbacks that currently dictate his standing in the division, not his triumphs, as the Fortis MMA man suffered first-round stoppage defeats in his first two attempts to really push forward in the rankings. He got back into the win column with a first-round submission win over Ion Cutelaba, showing greater poise in the chaos, and looks to maintain that when he steps in opposite Reyes this weekend.

A victory isn’t going to carry either man into immediate title contention, but it will bring the winner closer, and a definitive victory for either party will clear up some of the questions that continue to be asked about each of them.


Erin Blanchfield vs Molly McCann

Erin Blanchfield and Molly McCann clash in a meeting of ranked flyweights looking to keep their winning streaks intact and take another step forward in the divisional standings.

A New Jersey native and fighting out of New York City, Blanchfield is one of the very best prospects in the entire sport, carrying a 9-1 record and six-fight winning streak into this one. A tremendous grappler with enough grit and toughness to mix it up on the feet as well, “Cold Blooded” showed her finishing instincts and abilities last time out, snatching up a guillotine choke in a fight against JJ Aldrich where the veteran was getting the better of things right up until that was no longer the case.

McCann has been one of the breakout stars of 2022, building off her victory last fall over Ji Yeon Kim with consecutive spinning back elbow wins in London over Luana Carolina and Hannah Goldy. A beloved fan favorite in her native England, “Meatball Molly” has been riding shotgun on the “Paddy the Baddy Express” with her training partner, teammate, and friend Paddy Pimblett, and looks to run over Blanchfield on her way to another step up in competition next time out.

Can Blanchfield collect a victory at home and maintain her momentum or will McCann make it three wins in 2022 to climb to the fringes of title contention in the flyweight division?


Andre Petroski vs Wellington Turman

Middleweight grapplers Andre Petroski and Wellington Truman square off in the opening bout of Saturday’s televised prelims, with each man looking to build on recent positive results.

A member of Team Ortega on Season 29 of The Ultimate Fighter, Petroski has made the absolute most of his opportunity to compete in the Octagon coming off the show. The semifinalist finished fellow Team Ortega member Micheal Gillmore last August at the finale, followed that up two months later with a third-round finish of Hu Yaozong at UFC 267, and made it 3-for-3 with a 76-second submission win over Nick Maximov in May to push his record to 8-2 overall.

After going 1-3 over his first four UFC appearances, the 26-year-old Turman enters UFC 281 on a tidy two-fight winning streak. Last time out, the Brazilian snatched up a second-round armbar finish — and a Performance of the Night bonus — against Misha Cirkunov, extending his record to 3-3 in the Octagon and 18-5 for his career.

Both of these guys prefer to grapple, but aren’t afraid to sling leather either, so don’t be surprised if this one starts quickly and remains fast-paced and fun for as long as it lasts.


Matt Frevola vs Ottman Azaitar

All-action lightweights Matt Frevola and Ottman Azaitar meet in what should be a human game of Rock’em Sock’em Robots on Saturday night at MSG.

Frevola has gone 3-3-1 in seven UFC appearances, engaging in competitive or action-packed fights, regardless of the outcome. Last time out, “The SteamRolla” stopped a two-fight slide with a first-round stoppage win over Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Genaro Valdez, and looks to build on that result with another victory over Azaitar this weekend.

Unbeaten in 13 professional bouts, Azaitar is 2-0 in the UFC with consecutive first-round finishes of Teemu Packalen and Khama Worthy. He hasn’t fought since September 2020, but aims to maintain his undefeated record as he returns to action and takes a step up in competition against the Long Island native Frevola on Saturday.

With 17 finishes in 22 combined victories, the chances that this one goes to the judges are low, which means you’re going to want to make sure you’re locked in place to catch all the action from the word “Go” when these two hit the Octagon.


Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Silvana Gomez Juarez

Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Silvana Gomez Juarez face off in a battle of strawweight veterans looking to build on emotional victories last time out.

The former title challenger Kowalkiewicz halted a five-fight losing streak last time out, collecting a second-round stoppage win over Felice Herring; it was her first victory since edging out Herring by split decision in April 2018. Now she returns to the site of her first professional defeat aiming to collect a second straight victory.

The 37-year-old Gomez Juarez lost each of her first two UFC appearances by first-round armbar, but in her most recent appearance, she was the one finishing the fight in the opening stanza. “La Malvada” lit up Liang Na at UFC 275, battering her on the feet before connecting with a knockout blow a little under 90 seconds into the contest.

Which of these women will leave Madison Square Garden riding the high of a two-fight winning streak and which will depart wondering what went wrong?


Michael Trizano vs SeungWoo Choi

Featherweights Michael Trizano and SeungWoo Choi face off in this preliminary card contest that should be fireworks this weekend.

Ramsey, New Jersey product Trizano is 3-3 inside the Octagon and looking to halt a two-fight slide on Saturday. After returning from a two-year hiatus with a win over Ludovit Klein in the spring of 2021, “The Lone Wolf” suffered a unanimous decision loss to Hakeem Dawodu in February before getting clipped and finished in a brawl with Lucas Almeida in June.

Choi also enters having logged consecutive defeats, having most recently dropped a split decision to Joshua Culibao at UFC 275 in Singapore. The 29-year-old South Korean featherweight won three straight after opening his UFC career with consecutive losses to Movsar Evloev and Gavin Tucker, and will be looking to recapture that form here against Trizano.

Neither of these men is going to want to leave New York City with a third consecutive setback on their resume, so expect each to come out with a heightened sense of urgency and a greater willingness to engage on Saturday night.


Julio Arce vs Montel Jackson

Julio Arce and Montel Jackson face off in what should be an outstanding bantamweight fight early in the evening at UFC 281.

A Queens product, Arce is 0-2 at MSG, but 5-3 overall in the UFC. He returned to the 135-pound weight class three fights back with a victory over Andre Ewell, and rebounded from a loss to Song Yadong last November with a unanimous decision victory over Daniel Santos at UFC 273 in May.

Jackson is part of the DWCS Class of ’18 and has compiled a 5-2 record through his first seven UFC starts. “Quik” has only lost to quality competition and touches down in New York on a two-fight winning streak, having most recently scored a unanimous decision win over JP Buys last September.

Can Arce break through on his home turf or will Jackson pick up a third straight victory?


Carlos Ulberg vs Nicolae Negumereanu

Carlos Ulberg and Nicolae Negumereanu clash in a battle of light heavyweight finishers to open the show this weekend.

The first of four fighters from City Kickboxing to make the walk on Saturday night, Ulberg has earned consecutive victories after dropping his promotional debut at UFC 259. In his most recent appearance, “Black Jag” needed just 75 seconds to dispatch Tafon Nchukwi, finally showing the explosive finishing skills he exhibited on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Negumereanu has quietly put together a four-fight winning streak after dropping his promotional debut in early 2019. After collecting a pair of victories last year, the 28-year-old from Romania has followed it up with tandem 2022 wins over Kennedy Nzechukwu and Ihor Potieria to push his record to 13-1 overall.

Someone’s winning streak is going to come to an end, and given the way each of these men tend to approach things inside the Octagon, chances are that result will not require the judges to get involved.

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