Live updates: UFC 281 - Israel Adesanya v Alex Pereira at New York City's Madison Square Garden

Main card:

Main event: Israel Adesanya (c) v Alex Pereira – Middleweight Championship - Pereira wins via fifth-round knockout

Co-main event: Carla Esparza (c) v Weili Zhang - Women's strawweight Championship - Weili Zhang wins via second-round submission

Dustin Poirier v Michael Chandler - Poirier wins via third-round submission

Frankie Edgar v Chris Gutierrez - Gutierrez wins via first-round KO

Dan Hooker v Claudio Puelles - Hooker wins via second-round TKO

Preliminary card:

Brad Riddell v Renato Moicano - Moicano wins via first-round submission 

Dominick Reyes v Ryan Spann - Spann wins via first-round knockout

Erin Blanchfield v Molly McCann - Blanchfield wins first-round submission

Andre Petroski v Wellington Turman - Petroski wns via unanimous decision


Live updates

Israel Adesanya (c) v Alex Pereira – Middleweight Championship - Pereira wins via fifth-round knockout

7pm - Wow. Adesanya was a matter of minutes away from defending his belt, but the Brazlian was dangerous right until the end, adding another notch to his belt in the rivalry against the Kiwi. Adesanya protested the speed of the stoppage, but it's too little, too late. Click here for a full wrap.

Round five - Periera needs a finish to win this fight. Adesanya checks a leg kick that throws him off balance, Pereira swoops but the Kiwi is okay. In comes Pereira, lands a huge right hand! He wobbles, the Brazilian unloads and forces the referee to step in. We have a new champion!

Round four - Pereira needs to come back strong here, he's breathing heavily. If he loses this round it's a long way back. Adesanya comes with the jab then a clean right hand over the top. Seems to have his reads down here now. To the body kick, throwing the Brazilian plenty of looks. To the clinch again, initiated leaning on Pereira, whose output has slowed considerably. That's Adesanya's round, I have him up 3-1. 

Round three - We have a fight on our hands here, ladies and gents. Adesanya lands the right hand and then looks for that left hook again, Pereira defends well. Hip toss Adesanya! He has the back now. Here comes the ground and pound, Adesanya controlling wrist and landing shots from the top. Adesanya still has the wrist, manipulating Pereira's hand to pick and choose shots from the back. Scramble ends with Adesanya in half mount. This is really fatiguing the Brazlian. Adesanya postures up, lands some elbows. To the feet they go, axe kick to the body as the round closes! That was a huge round for the champ.

Round two - Pereira stays aggressive, undeterred by what happened just moments ago. First round may have been his until the ending. Adesanya pumps the jab, Pereira responds with a couple of his own. They clinch, Adesanya lands some short shots at close range that Pereira definitely felt. Some more big left hands from Pereira. Adesanya to the clinch again. Holding his own in the clinch despite Pereira's bigger frame. Pereira unleashes a head kick glances off the shoulder. Pereira shoots and lands the double leg takedown as the buzzer sounds to secure the round. 

Round one - Here we go! Pereira looks enormous. Opens with a flying knee Adesanya easily evades. They exchange leg kicks. Pereira goes high, Izzy checks it. Adesanya kicks to the mid section. Crisp one-two Adesanya! On the money. Pereira lunges, can't connect. Seome swelling under the challenger's right eye. More leg kicks from Adesanya, they've been effective. hefty body kick from Pereira now. Adesanya clinches but Pereira does some damage inside wit his knees and punches. First grappling blood to the Brazilian. Massive right hand from Adesanya right on the buzzer, followed by the left! Pereira wobbles while the buzzer sounds. Saved by the bell. Shades of Adesanya-Whittaker I there. Good round for the champ.

6:26pm - Height and reach almost identical between the two. 'Poatan' stone faced as Adesanya enters and takes his customary lap.

Bruce Buffer confirms that is, in fact, officially 'time'.

Boos ring through MSG as Pereira is introduced, while Adesanya gets a big pop.

6:23pm - The lights dim as the champ begins his entrance. Fresh fade, no theatrics - 'The Last Stylebender' looks all business.

6:21pm - Pereira with this trademark nod to his native Brazlian heritage, pulling back the bow and firing the arrow on his way to the centre.

6:20pm - Octagon walks are imminent. Here's hoping this main event can cap off an action-packed event in fitting fashion.

6:05pm - Hold tight, team. The one you've all been waiting for is up next.

Carla Esparza (c) v Weili Zhang - Women's strawweight Championship - Weili Zhang wins via second-round submission

Second round - Zhang goes high with the right hook and low with the kick, glaring difference in the quality of striking. Zhang reverses a takedown then spins into a crucifix position. Transitions to the back, here comes the rear-naked choke...and this one is over! And new!

The Chinese sparkplug secures the title for a second time. That was impressive.

First round - Off we go. Zhang finding her rhythm early, showing Esparza a variety of strikes. Having success with her leg kicks. Esparza catches one, works for a takedown but Zhang pounces on her back. Wild scramble here, ends with Esparza back on top. Zhang reverses, moves into halfguard and stings Esparza with some heavy elbows. Would score that one for the challenger.

5:40pm - Just one more fight before 'The Last Stylebender' steps inside the Octagon.

Dustin Poirier v Michael Chandler - Poirier wins via third-round submission

Third round - A decisive third round here, I believe, but who could be sure with how close the first one was. Chandler gets the single leg and hoists POirier high, brings him down but DP scrambles to Chandler's back. Now it's Chandler's turn to defend.  Poirier has this rear-naked choke deep now... and there's the tap! What a damn fight that was.

Second round - Chandler looks busted up, but he explodes and lands a takedown. Poirier threatens the triangle, cuts Chandler open again with an elbow. Chandler to Dustin's back, forcing Poirer to work really hard defensively. A lot of time in top posoition, great comeback round for Chandler after he seemed seconds away from being finished last round. I think we're tied up here heading into the third.

First round - Poirier establishing his leg kicks early, those could be a key to this fight. Here comes Chandler, swinging for the fences here and putting plenty of shots on the mark. Poirier covers up, spins out of trouble. Poirier stunned by a big hook! Chandler unloads on the cage, shoots and lands the takedown. Poirier recovers, drops Chandler with a right! Back to his feet, Poirier has Chandler in trouble, somehow he stays on his feet as the round ends. Wow. Like I said, guaranteed fireworks.

5:12pm - A mouthwatering matchup coming up here. This will be guaranteed fireworks.

Frankie Edgar v Chris Gutierrez - Gutierrez wins via first-round KO

Round one - Want to go on record here and say I am absolutely in th corner of 'The Answer' here in his retirement bout. Wow! Bang goes Gutierrez with a scorching knee that absolutely flattens Edgar. Lights out. That's a terrible way to go out, but what a display by 'El Guapo', who looked superb from the start. Thankfully, Edgar is quickly back to his feet. MSG starts to chant the New Jersey native's name.

Dan Hooker v Claudio Puelles - Hooker wins via second-round TKO

Second round - Hooker moves aggressively forward, using his considerable heaight and size edge to almost land at will with his jab. Puelles lunges, almost in desperation. Hooker lands with the left hand, then the front kick. Puelles persists in pursuing the ankle. It's clearly his only path to victory, there's a massive gulf in striking here. Hooker lands a big right hand. Puelles in deep on a single leg but Hooker sprawls, starts hammering away to Puelles' body. Hook  to the body again. The Peruvian looks exhausted here. Another big front kick to the midriff and Puelles crumbles, he's seen enough. Hooker wins!

First round - Gloves touch, Hooker takes the centre. Feeling each other out, Hooker throwing a variety of strikes, looking for his range. 'Let's go Hooker' chants ring through MSG. Puelles with the iminari rol and snatches Hooker's leg. Uh oh. Hooker scrambles well, Puelles adjusts. They're in quite the tangle right now. Puelles looks close to finishing this but Hooker holds on, works his knee slightly free - and he's out and on top! Superb defence. Hooker calls him to stand up, big confidence boost there for the Kiwi to repel the leg lock specialist. Hooker lands the teep kick. Puelles rolls again loolking for a leg, the crowd doesn't appreciate it. That's the end of the round.

4:22pm - Buffer launches into his intros. Plenty of boos for Puelles and a rousing round of ovation for the Kiwi. His reputation precedes him.

4:20pm - Hooker looking his typically composed self, big smile on his dial. The man loves a scrap.

4:18pm - In strolls the 'Prince of Peru'. Puelles is a very dangerous grappler and has made the kneebar his weapon of choice.

4:05pm - We're into the main card people, which means it's 'Hangman' time.

Feel free to cram in a quick Dan Hooker preview here while you're waiting.

Brad Riddell v Renato Moicano - Moicano wins via first-round submission

First round - We're underway. Moicano takes the middle immediately, pressing forward. Pops a crisp jab, follows with a knee that finds its mark. Lovely combo from Moicano punctuated by a head kick, Riddell manages to glance that away but gets clipped by another jab. Riddell is bleeding from a cut underneath his right eye. Moicano having a ton of success with his jab, controling the distance perfectly and taking full advantage of his edge in height and reach. Riddell looks to grapple, may not be a great idea against Moicano. Moicano grabs the back and slwly sinks in a rear-naked choke. Riddell is carrying him on his back but isn't fighting the hands. There goes the tap. This one is over.

3:37pm - Riddell goes through his final checks and climbs the Octagon stairs. Moicano awaits him inside. Buffer steps up for the intros. Let's get this started.

3:35pm - The fighters are both making their Octagon entrances now. Strap in.

3:20pm - New Zealand's own Brad Riddell will make his way to the middle shortly. Spann's quick KO means we'll probably have a slight delay.

Dominick Reyes v Ryan Spann - Spann wins via first-round knockout

3:17pm - Spann puts his win down to finally actually training for a fight. Um... what? 

3:13pm - Bang! Down goes Reyes and he is out cold. Nothing much more than a jab that connected right on the button. 15th first-round finish for the towering American.

3:12pm - Great opportunity here for both guys with the light heavyweight tile picture in flux.

3pm - Dominick Reyes will enter the Octagon shortly for his showdown with Ryan Spann, then 'Quake' is up.

Erin Blanchfield v Molly McCann - Blanchfield wins via first-round submission

2:45pm - McCann has the MSG crowd chanting her name early... and she's fighting a New Yorker. 

Blanchfield was the early takedown and immeidately puts McCann into a crucifix and rains down elbows. Threatens with an arm bar, then a kimura... and there's the tap!

Blanchfield brushes the dirt off her shoulders, that was quite a statement.

2:38pm - Next up, everyone's favourite British 'Meatball' tries to keep her momemntum going against Erin Blanchfield, who's riding a six-fight win streak.

Big step up in competition for McCann today.

Andre Petroski v Wellington Turman - Petroski wins via unanimous decision

2:30pm - A third round that was almost a carbon copy of the second, with Petroski in complete control. This should be a straightforward unanimous decision win for the American.

2:25pm - Convincing second round there from Petroski, who showcased his elite grappling to control Turman throughout.

The third will likely decide the outcome of this bout.

2:20pm - Tight opening round. Petroski doing work on the mat here in the second, threatening with the guillotine, then a neck crank.

2:15pm - Andre Petroski and Wellington Turman are into the thick of their first round in the opening bout of the prelims.

2:07pm - The next Kiwi off the rank is Brad Riddell, who'll fight Renato Moicano in the headline of the preliminary card. We're three bouts away.

Look who just entered the building at MSG...

2pm - Afternoon, fight fans! Strap in for a bumper arvo of fights from New York City, where four of New Zealand's City Kickboxing contingent are in action.

In the opening fight of the day, Carlos Ulberg set the stage for his squad in ideal fashion, blitzing Nicolae Negumereanu in just under 80 seconds for his second straight first-round finish.


Kia ora and welcome to our live updates of UFC 281 at New York City, where Kiwi Israel Adesanya will resume his rivalry with Alex Pereira in the headline act.

'The Last Stylebender' will attempt to defend his middleweight title for a sixth time against Pereira, who boasts two wins over the UFC's No.2 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the kickboxing ring. 

One of those was a vicious knockout, the only time Adesanya has been finished in his combat career.

Three of Adesanya's City Kickboxing teammates also feature on the card.

Light heavyweight Carlos Ulberg takes on Nicolae Negumereanu in the first bout of the day. Brad Riddell headlines the preliminary card against Renato Moicano, while Dan Hooker leads off the pay-per-view against Claudio Puelles.

The stacked card also includes a women's strawweight championship bout between Weili Zhang and Carla Esparza, and a guaranteed showstopper at lightweight with Dustin Poirier against Michael Chandler.

We'll have all of the action for you from 2pm (NZ time).

TAB betting odds:

Israel Adesanya - $1.44 Alex Pereira - $2.70

Dan Hooker - $1.60 Claudio Puelles - $2.28

Brad Riddell - $2.03 Renato Moicano - $1.75

Carlos Ulberg - $1.74 Nicolae Negumereanu - $2.05

Full fight card:

Early Prelims:

Carlos Ulberg v Nicolae Negumereanu – Light Heavyweight bout

Matt Frevola v Ottman Azaitar – Lightweight bout

Michael Trizano v Seungwoo Choi – Featherweight bout

Karolina Kowalkiewicz v Silvana Gomez Juarez – Women’s Strawweight bout


Andre Petroski v Wellington Turman – Middleweight bout

Erin Blanchfield v Molly McCann – Women’s Flyweight bout

Dominick Reyes v Ryan Spann – Light Heavyweight bout

Brad Riddell v Renato Moicano – Lightweight bout

Main card:

Dan Hooker v Claudio Puelles – Lightweight bout

Frankie Edgar v Chris Gutierrez – Bantamweight bout

Dustin Poirier v Michael Chandler - Lightweight bout

Co-main event: Carla Esparza (c) v Weili Zhang - Women’s Strawweight Championship bout

Main event: Israel Adesanya (c) v Alex Pereira – Middleweight Championship bout