Israel Adesanya on UFC 281 loss: ‘Sh*t happens’

Israel Adesanya‘s reign atop the middleweight division came to a halt on Saturday when he was stopped by Alex Pereira in the UFC 281 main event.

Heading into the final round at Madison Square Garden, Adesanya was ahead on all three of the judges scorecards. He won the first, third, and fourth rounds while Pereira was scored winning round 2. The scorecards didn’t matter, though. Pereira stopped Adesanya in the fifth.

After stunning Adesanya with a right hand, Pereira connected cleanly with a left hook that badly hurt Adesanya. Adesanya tried to move side to side but his hands remained down. After he absorbed a couple more from Pereira, referee Marc Goddard had seen enough.

Adesanya wished he would have been allowed to continue, but wasn’t too upset with the stoppage.

“I was fine. First thing I said to the was I was fine because I was still lucid. I was in there, but sh*t happens,” Adesanya said during the UFC 281 Post-Fight Press Conference.

“I talked to my coaches and I trust them, but I was fine,” continued Adesanya. “I could see everything. My eyes may have rolled back a little bit, but I was lucid.”

“My ego would say at least let me go out on my shield, but I don’t think I would have gone out because I was still there. I’ve seen worse stoppages. Bring back Steve Mazzagatti,” Adesanya added. “Bring back Steve Mazzagatti. I would have been fine. He might have won that round, but I’d still be champion.”

But that’s all hoopla. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. It doesn’t matter. He’s the new champion. Congrats to him. He did it again.”

Adesanya expects to face Pereira in a rematch in his next outing.

Video: Nate Diaz slaps someone outside Madison Square Garden at UFC 281