Heading into the fifth round of their UFC 281 title bout, Alex Pereira was down on all the scorecards with Israel Adesanya picking him apart and hurting him on multiple occasions. Much like he did on their second kickboxing match, Pereira found it in himself to pull off another insane comeback, this time winning the UFC middleweight title in the process.
Corner audio from that pivotal round has been released, showing Pereira’s coaches giving him crucial advice. Pereira got both a motivational speech, and quality technical instructions right before he went out for the final stanza.
“One round for you to be a world champion,” his coaches said in Portuguese. “Five minutes. Enough. Enough. You need to get to him. You need to approach him, okay? You have to knock him out. You need to knock him out.
“Always with the stance, high guard. Listen, he’s feeling it when you’re hitting him,” he said. “You only have one round! Active with your defense, and combos! Combos! Two, three strikes!
“Breathe right now. You’re going to be a world champion now. This round is yours. This round is yours. Go for it!”
And go for it he did. Just two minutes after that passionate plea to his pupil, Pereira stopped Adesanya on his feet to claim the crown.
The decorated kickboxer is now the UFC middleweight champion after just eight MMA fights, and only four in the UFC. Pereira is now 3-0 against Adesanya across two sports, ending that four year title reign in the process.