In the UFC 281 main event, the heavily-favored ‘Stylebender’ suffered only the second loss of his UFC career. Squaring off for the third time with former GLORY Kickboxing rival Alex Pereira, Adesanya appeared to be just minutes away from a unanimous decision victory. Suddenly, the Brazilian challenger went into overdrive, trapping Adesanya against the fence and unloading a barrage of strikes until referee Marc Goddard had seen enough.
Following the loss, Adesanya spoke to UFC’s roving reporter Megan Olivi backstage at Madison Square Garden and even appeared on ‘The MMA Hour‘ with Ariel Helwani just two days removed from the defeat. During his media appearances, ‘The Last Stylebender’ has been nothing short of gracious, giving credit where credit is due and placing no blame on anyone or anything for the shocking loss.
Joe Rogan, who was calling the action that night, commented on Adesanya’s demeanor following the defeat and gave the former middleweight champion props for taking the loss like a true champion.
“Dude, the way he responded to that loss is better than anybody ever,” Rogan said on the ‘Joe Rogan Experience‘ podcast. “The dude shows up to the press conference with a f*cking fur coat like a king. Dope-ass watch on and just says, ‘He got me.’ He basically said ‘the hunter is now the hunted, I’m coming after him, I’m going to find a way to beat that dude. I was on my way to beating him, and he got me.’
“He was honest about all of it. About how Pereira landed a bunch of calf kicks early on and f*cked up his leg and he couldn’t move right. Those calf kicks have changed the game.” h/t MMAFighting
— GIX MMA (@gixMMA) November 13, 2022
Joe Rogan Comments on the Heavily-Debated Stoppage of Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira
With just moments remaining in the fight, Alex Pereira unloaded on Israel Adesanya, knowing he desperately needed a knockout if he were going to walk out of Madison Square Garden with a UFC title wrapped around his waist. After roughly 10-seconds of unanswered strikes, referee Marc Goddard stepped in, stopping the action. While Adesanya quickly protested, he has since come to terms with the loss and believes the stoppage was good.
However, there are some in the MMA community that believe the stoppage came too early and as a champion, ‘Stylebender’ deserved an opportunity to recover and continue. Joe Rogan disagrees.
“I don’t think Pereira was going to stop,” Rogan said. “He had more time, ‘Izzy’ was stationary and Pereira was gonna hit him with some big shots. We don’t need to see ‘Izzy’ with his eyes rolled back behind his head flat out unconscious. I think it was a good stoppage.
“I could see where he’d be upset about it, too. I could see where other fights have gone on longer and they have, but it’s a subjective call and Marc Goddard is one of the very best in the world. He’s top 2 or 3, he might be No. 2, I think Herb Dean’s No. 1 and ‘Big’ John McCarthy doesn’t ref anymore, he was always in that same spot. He was saying ‘Bring back Steve Mazzagatti.’ (laughs). Then he went on Andrew Schulz’s podcast on Monday, they were drinking, having fun. He handled it very, very well… it’s f*cking the game they play man. I mean, Izzy knocked a lot of f*cking people unconscious. Izzy put it on everybody in the division.”