UFC 281 showcased the trilogy bout between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira as well as on of the best cards in recent memory. Here are the results and recaps:
A comeback win for Alex Pereira marks him 3-0 against Israel Adesanya across 2 combat sports. After being hurt at the end of round 1 despite a strong effort on the feet, he earned round 2 unanimously before losing 3 & 4 due to fatigue and heavy grappling pressure from Adesanya. Exhausted and fatigued, he rallied in the 5th to stop his opponent and claim the Middleweight title.
Although not as one-sided as the odds may have suggested, Zhang Weili cruised her way to a rear-naked-choke win over Carla Esparza to reclaim the Strawweight title dominantly.
The fight of the night honors went to these two after an amazing war. Chandler had Poirier hurt along the ropes multiple times in round 1 and was looking to take it handily. Poirier came back near the end of the round though and had Iron Mike nearly out on his feet before he was saved by the buzzer. Chandler responded with a strong round 2, utilizing his grappling to dominate the full 5 minutes. It was looking to be the same in round 3 after he scored a massive takedown, but Dustin reversed positions and found the rear-naked choke.
The fight was a masterful display from 'El Guapo' as he kept Edgar at range and picked his shots well until a perfectly placed knee sent the former champion flying. Gutierrez earned the biggest win of his career, and Frankie Edgar retired following the loss.
It was an awkward fight from start to finish. Puelles managed to get Hooker down in round 1 with an Imanari roll but didn't find any success returning the fight to the mat after that. A series of unsuccessful guard pulls saw him completely abandon any thought of striking with the Kiwi. Hooker timed multiple body kicks during the bout and eventually bout his opponent down.
Renato Moicano showed once again why he deserves a ranking next to his name. He made short work of Brad Riddell, bloodying him up on the feet before locking up a rear-naked choke that forced the tap. His 6th such submission in the UFC.
The return of Dominick Reyes was spoiled quickly by Ryan Spann. He hurt Reyes early and often before putting him to sleep with a stiff lead hook less than 90 seconds into the fight.
Erin Blanchfield looked every bit like one of the best in the world against Molly McCann, landing over 60 strikes to 0 through 3 minutes of domination on the ground before locking up a kimura submission.
This was a fun fight with action from both sides on the feet as well as the ground. Round 1 was fairly close with much of its impactful moments being on the feet. It was rounds 2 & 3 where Petroski began to pull away with his heavy grappling pressure, securing him the UD win.
Matt Frevola took the undefeated record of Ottman Azaitar with a brutal first-round knockout. It was the first time in over 2 years that Azaitar had fought, and the inactivity definitely showed en route to his first professional defeat.
Karolina's grappling secured her the first round as she notched 2 takedowns and a large amount of control time. The final two rounds were spent on the feet where she did enough to earn the nod on all 3 scorecards.
A fight that started with a double knockdown and only got better. These two brought heat from the opening bell, both hurting the other multiple times. In the end, Trizano's power was too much and he secured the knockout win with seconds left in round 1.
The fight started off quite close with neither man truly edging out the other. It wasn't until round 3 that Jackson scored a jab-knockdown that had Arce hurt for nearly the entire round before winning the unanimous decision.
Ulberg used the vintage City Kickboxing leg kicks to take away the footwork of his opponent early, making him a much more still target. After finding his range with the hands, he connected with a jab left hook that put Negumereanu to sleep.
UFC 281 set the record for most 1st-rounds knockouts recorded in a single UFC event and will go down as an all-time great night of fights.