Firas Zahabi Defends Alex vs Israel Stoppage in The UFC 281 Main Event: “I’m Very Grateful That Marc Goddard Stopped It”

Firas Zahabi Has Shut Down the Debate About Marc Goddard's UFC 281 Main Event Stoppage Being Premature.

Firas Zahabi
Firas Zahabi (left) and Marc Goddard standing between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira (right)(Images via Instagram)

Firas Zahabi believes Marc Goddard saved Israel Adesanya’s career by ending the UFC 281 main event. 

Alex Pereira stunned MMA fans worldwide when he finished ‘The Last Stylebender’ to become the UFC middleweight champion. Adesanya was three minutes away from retaining the title before a left hook from ‘Poatan’ changed everything. The City Kickboxing product showed his durability and didn’t fall before Goddard ended the fight with a standing TKO. 

Some analysts and fans believe the stoppage was premature, considering Adesanya was still standing. The Tristar Gym head coach, Zahabi, isn’t one of those people. While discussing UFC 281 for his YouTube channel, the 42-year-old MMA coach had this to say about Goddard’s stoppage:

“Pereira could have very possibly ended Adesanya’s career if the referee did not intervene. Guys, if the referee did not intervene, a scissor knee was coming. Guys, the greatest scissor knee I have seen in all of combat sports, ever, is Alex Pereira…”

Zahabi then stressed the severity of damage Adesanya could have sustained by saying:

“It’s an incredible knee from a giant, who’s incredibly explosive. He throws it incredibly quick. I thought when Adesanya was dazed like that, the knee was coming. If Marc Goddard did not step in, it could have been a serious concussion, broken jaw, broken orbital, fractured skull even. It could have been something that ruined or ended Adesanya’s professional career. So I’m very grateful that Marc Goddard stopped it.”

During the UFC 281 aftermath, Adesanya stated that he didn’t think the stoppage was terrible, but he could have continued fighting if given the opportunity. ‘The Last Stylebender’ stayed humble after the loss and wants the rematch against Pereira for his next fight. 

Firas Zahabi praises Israel Adesanya’s UFC 281 performance

Israel Adesanya was winning on all three judge’s scorecards going into the fifth round. If the UFC 281 main event had gone the distance, ‘The Last Stylebender’ would have retained the middleweight title, even if Alex Pereira was given a 10-8 in the last round. Firas Zahabi had this to say about the former champion’s performance before getting finished by Pereira:

“Adesanya fought beautifully. Brilliant. He was winning three rounds to one. He was losing Round 1 and came back with an incredible right-hand, left hook combination.”

Pereira became the second least-experienced UFC champion, with Brock Lesnar being first by one fight. ‘Poatan’ is now 3-0 against Adesanya if you count their kickboxing bouts. With that said, ‘The Last Stylebender’ has the skills to win the middleweight title back, and his next fight could be the last opportunity to take out his Brazilian rival.

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