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UFC 281 live results: Adesanya vs. Pereira, Esparza vs. Weili

A stacked card headlined by two title fights marks UFC's return to Madison Square Garden.
UFC 281

Welcome to F4WOnline.com's live coverage of UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira, emanating from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.

The Octagon is back in the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden in New York City, with arguably the card of the year taking place, highlighted by two title fights and one of the most exciting match-ups of the year.

UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya looks to remain at the top of the division as he defends against Alex Pereira in the main event. The two have a storied history as they fought twice while both were competing in kickboxing, with Pereira winning both fights and being the only man to ever knock Adesanya out. Adesanya will be making his sixth title defense while Pereira looks to shock the world and extend his six-fight win streak.

In the co-main event, UFC Women's Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza defends the title for the first time since winning it for the second time as former champion Zhang Weili looks to regain the championship gold. Esparza won the title from Rose Namajunas at UFC 274 in May, her sixth straight win. Weili lost the title to Namajunas in April 2021, and got herself another opportunity at gaining it back after scoring a second-round knockout of Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 275 in June.

Also on the main card is arguably the most exciting match-up of 2022 as perennial lightweight contenders Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler go to battle. Also on the main card is Frankie Edgar, who will be fighting for the final time of his Hall Of Fame career, as he takes on Chris Gutierrez, and a lightweight battle between Dan Hooker and Claudio Puelles kicks off the main card. A loaded slate of prelims also takes place, highlighted by a lightweight match-up between Brad Riddell and Renato Moicano, and a light heavyweight battle pitting Dominick Reyes against Ryan Spann.

Follow along with our live coverage of the event beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern time with preliminary action all the way through the main card.

We are looking for your thoughts on tonight's event, so send a thumbs up, a thumbs down or a thumbs in the middle along with a best fight and a worst fight to Dave at dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

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> Light Heavyweights- Carlos Ulberg (6-1, 2-1 UFC) vs. Nicolae Negumereanu (13-1, 4-1 UFC)

Negumereanu lands a leg kick. Ulberg with a leg kick. He lands a hard leg kick. Ulberg lands a hard jab. Ulberg with a hard leg kick. Ulberg ducks under a Negumereanu right hand. Negumereanu tried a knee but slipped to the mat as his lead leg is damaged from Ulberg's leg kicks. Ulberg lands a right hand. Ulberg drops Negumereanu to his knees with a left hook and finishes it off with another shot on the ground. What a finish.

Official Result- Carlos Ulberg def. Nicolae Negumereanu by knockout (punches) at 3:44 of Round 1

> Bantamweights- Julio Arce (18-5, 5-3 UFC) vs. Montel Jackson (11-2, 5-2 UFC)

Jackson goes for a takedown and pushes it against the fence right away. Jackson trying to get it down. Jackson with some punches as he has Arce pushed against the fence. Jackson lands a knee but still working to get Arce to the mat. They are broken up by Marc Goddard. Arce lands a body kick. Jackson lands a left hand. Arce with a combo to the body. They trade jabs. Arce lands a left and both land in close range. Jackson with a leg kick. Arce grabs Jackson and pushes him against the fence but is able to complete the late takedown. 10-9 Arce.

They're both looking to land in close range to start the second. Arce is pressuring. Jackson lands a leg kick but Arce still coming forward and lands some punches. Jackson lands a nice jab. Arce still pressing forward. Jackson lands a right hand. Jackson with a combo. They trade in close range. Jackson shoots for a takedown and presses it against the fence. Jackson has body control and lands some short shots at the end of the round. 10-9 Jackson, 19-19.

Jackson landing the jab. Jackson lands a jab that hurts Arce and Arce falls to the mat and Jackson gets on top and is landing punches. Arce throwing up his legs looking for a triangle choke. Jackson goes to his knees looking to get inside the guard of Arce. Arce almost got the triangle choke locked in. They get to their feet. Jackson lands a right hand. Arce lands a left hand. Jackson lands a nice jab. They clinch against the fence. The quickly break. Jackson with a combo and Arce just misses a left hand late. 10-9 Jackson, 29-28 Jackson.

Official Result- Montel Jackson def. Julio Arce by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

> Featherweights*- Michael Trizano (9-3, 3-3 UFC) vs. Seungwoo Choi (10-5, 3-4 UFC)

*Trizano missed weight by 1.6 pounds

We have a double knockdown to start things out. Crazy. They get up and are trading. Trizano with a right hand. Choi with a left hand and Trizano lands a left hand. Choi with a leg kick. Trizano drops Choi with a left hand and lands from the top but Choi gets up and lands some knees. Choi with a leg kick. Choi lands a left hand. Trizano lands the jab. He lands another and follows it with a combo. Choi rocks Trizano with a left hand and they are swinging for the fences looking to connect. They trade jabs. Choi lands a left hook. Trizano with a leg kick. Trizano lands a right hand. Trizano drops Choi with a left hand and finishes it off. What a finish by Trizano.

Official Result- Michael Trizano def. Seungwoo Choi by knockout (punches) at 4:51 of Round 1

> Women's Strawweights- Karolina Kowalkiewicz (13-7, 6-7 UFC) vs. Silvana Gomez Juarez (11-4, 1-2 UFC)

Both throwing jabs to start off. Juarez misses a couple of right hands. Juarez lands a right hand and leg kicks and Kowalkiewicz gets a takedown. Kowalkiewicz grabs the back and gets the hooks in. Kowalkiewicz has the body triangle locked on. Juarez trying to escape but Kowalkiewicz maintains back control. Kowalkiewicz with some right hands from the back. Kowalkiewicz working for the rear-naked choke but lets go. Kowalkiewicz with more right hands from the back. They break on their feet. Kowalkiewicz with the jab. Juarez lands a combo. 10-9 Kowalkiewicz.

Kowalkiewicz lands a right hand. They're both landing in close range. Juarez with a left hand. Juarez lands a right hand. Kowalkiewicz with a right hand. Juarez with the jab. Juarez lands a combo. Kowalkiewicz lands a right hand. Juarez lands a right hand. Kowalkiewicz lands the jab. They trade inside the pocket and Kowalkiewicz lands a knee while they briefly clinch. Juarez with a right hand. Close round. 10-9 Juarez, 19-19.

They're trading to start the third and both are landing. Kowalkiewicz lands a right hand. Kowalkiewicz lands the jab. Juarez with a combo. Both are landing and Kowalkiewicz is landing the jab quite often. Juarez lands a right hand. Kowalkiewicz lands a couple of right hands. Juarez with a right hand. She lands another. They trade inside the pocket. Kowalkiewicz lands a nice knee to the body. Kowalkiewicz gets the takedown. She looks to get the back as Juarez gets to her feet but they battle for underhooks inside the clinch. They break. Kowalkiewicz with a combo and lands a few knees. Juarez with a combo. Good fight. 10-9 Kowalkiewicz, 29-28 Kowalkiewicz.

There were some weird things going on with the scorecards after the fight, including an official coming in and writing new scores on Bruce Buffer's sheet and some general just confusion. Hopefully, we'll find out what was going on.

Official Result- Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Silvana Gomez Juarez by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

> Lightweights- Matt Frevola (9-3-1, 3-3-1 UFC) vs. Ottman Azaitar (13-0, 0-0 UFC)

Frevola lands a body kick after they feel each other out. Frevola lands some punches. Azaitar lands a left hand. Frevola with a right hand. Azaitar lands a left hook. Frevola with a stiff jab. Frevola drops Azaitar with a left hand as they trade inside the pocket and Azaitar is out cold.

Official Result- Matt Frevola def. Ottman Azaitar by knockout (punches) at 2:30 of Round 1

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> Middleweights- Andre Petroski (8-1, 3-0 UFC) vs. Wellington Turman (18-5, 3-3 UFC)

Turman lands a right hand and they trade inside the pocket. Turman with a leg kick. Petroski lands a leg kick. Turman with a body kick and they trade shots. Turman with a hard body kick. Petroski lands a right hand. Turman with a left hand. Turman with a leg kick. They trade inside the pocket. Petroski lands a left hand. Petroski shoots for the single leg and pushes it against the fence to complete the takedown. They get to their feet and Petroski has the back. They break. Petroski lands a left hand. They trade punches. Petroski lands a left hand. Turman with a body kick. They trade left hands. Petroski grabs the single leg and pushes it against the fence. Petroski gets it back down but Turman lands some elbows. 10-9 Turman.

Petroski lands a left hand. Petroski with a body kick. Turman lands a leg kick. Petroski looks to drop for a takedown but Turman has the neck and locks in a guillotine choke as they go to the mat but Petroski gets out and has the neck of Turman in side control. Petroski gets the back and looked for a choke but Turman squirmed out and Petroski now on top. They scramble and Turman ends up in the guard of Petroski. They get to their feet. Turman gets it down but they pop right up. Petroski gets it down and is in the mount. He moves to the half-guard. Petroski lands some elbows late. 10-9 Petroski, 19-19.

They trade leg kicks to start the third. Petroski shoots for the takedown against the fence and gets the back to complete it. Petroski grabs the neck and looks for the guillotine choke and mounts him but lets go. Petroski lands some right hands. Petroski gets on top and lands. Petroski gets into Turman's guard and is looking to improve as Turman throws from the bottom. Petroski gets the back of Turman. They get to their feet and Petroski slams Turman back to the mat. They get up but Petroski ends up getting it back down as he has back control. Petroski ends the fight with back control. 10-9 Petroski, 29-28 Petroski.

Official Result- Andre Petroski def. Wellington Turman by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

> Women's Flyweights- #12 Erin Blanchfield (9-1, 3-0 UFC) vs. #15 Molly McCann (13-4, 6-3 UFC)

They trade leg kicks. McCann lands a right hand. Blanchfield lands a right hand. Blanchfield with a leg kick then a right hand and scores a takedown. Blanchfield in side control. Blanchfield gets the crucifix position and is landing punches and elbows. McCann trying to fight out of it. Blanchfield with lots of left hands. Blanchfield now landing elbows. Blanchfield now looking for a kimura. She has it locked in. McCann gets out but Blanchfield retains the crucifix position. Blanchfield gets the kimura locked in and McCann taps. Just absolute domination from Blanchfield.

Official Result- Erin Blanchfield def. Molly McCann by submission (kimura) at 3:37 of Round 1

> Light Heavyweights*- #7 Dominick Reyes (12-3, 6-3 UFC) vs. #12 Ryan Spann (20-7, 6-2 UFC)

*Spann missed weight by .6 pounds

Reyes with a body kick. Spann clips Reyes with a right hand and then hurts Reyes again with a punch. Spann grabs the neck but lets go. Reyes with a body kick. Spann lands a combo. Spann drops Reyes with a jab and Reyes is out cold. What a brutal knockout by Spann.

Official Result- Ryan Spann def. Dominick Cruz by knockout (punch) at 1:20 of Round 1

> Lightweights- Brad Riddell (10-3, 4-2 UFC) vs. Renato Moicano (16-5-1, 8-5 UFC)

Moicano pressing forward and Riddell lands a jab. Moicano lands a knee. Moicano lands a combo ending with a head kick and they trade in the pocket. Riddell with a leg kick. Moicano lands the jab. Riddell with a body kick after Moicano lands a jab. They trade jabs. They clinch and go to the mat and Moicano jumps on the back. Moicano looking for the rear-naked choke and has it locked in. Riddell taps! Big submission win for Moicano.

Official Result- Renato Moicano def. Brad Riddell by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:20 of Round 1

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> Lightweights- #12 Dan Hooker (21-12, 11-8 UFC) vs. Claudio Puelles (12-2, 5-1 UFC)

Hooker with a leg kick. He lands a couple more. Hooker continues to land leg kicks. Puelles goes for the Imanari roll and looks to lock in a kneebar. Hooker is defending and lands a right hand. Puelles now looking for a heel hook. Hooker lands some body shots as he gets his knee out of bad position. Hooker escapes and is on top but gets to his feet and Puelles is ordered up. Puelles tries to roll again but Hooker is aware to it. Hooker lands a right hand. 10-9 Hooker.

Hooker lands to the body. They trade body kicks. Hooker lands a right hand and Puelles looks to grab the leg but Hooker slips away. Hooker lands a left hand. Hooker lands the jab and then a left hook. Puelles is able to grab the leg and pushes it against the fence. Hooker grabbed the neck and Puelles let go. Hooker with an inside leg kick. Puelles shoots for the takedown but Hooker gets away. Puelles looks for the takedown but Hooker sprawls and lands some punches to the body. Hooker with a body kick that hurts Puelles. Hooker lands a body kick and Puelles goes down and it is stopped. What a weird ending.

Official Result- Dan Hooker def. Claudio Puelles by TKO (kick) at 4:06 of Round 2

> Bantamweights- #12 Frankie Edgar (24-10-1, 18-10-1 UFC) vs. Chris Gutierrez (18-3-2, 6-1-1 UFC)

They trade leg kicks to start. Gutierrez lands a spinning back fist. Gutierrez with a leg kick followed by a jab. Edgar with a leg kick. Edgar with a body kick. Gutierrez lands a big knee that knocks Edgar out cold. Bittersweet end to the career of Edgar as Gutierrez gets the big knockout win.

Official Result- Chris Gutierrez def. Frankie Edgar by knockout (knee) at 2:01 of Round 1

> Lightweights- #2 Dustin Poirier (28-7 1 NC, 20-6 1 NC UFC) vs. #5 Michael Chandler (23-7, 2-2 UFC)

Chandler lands a right hand. Poirier lands a left hand. Chandler with some body kicks. Chandler with a leg kick but it got checked. Chandler with a body kick followed by a quick flurry. Chandler lands some right hands and is landing to the body against the fence. Poirier with a left hand. Chandler with the leg kick. Chandler lands a big left. Poirier lands a right hook. Chandler lands some right hands and is landing a flurry on Poirier against the fence. Chandler gets a takedown. Chandler gets the back but they stand. Chandler lands a German Suplex but they stand. Poirier lands a combo and Chandler lands a big right hand. Poirier lands a shot that drops Chandler to his knees and Chandler is backing up and Poirier landing a big flurry against the fence and has Chandler in trouble at the end. What a round. 10-9 Poirier.

Chandler with a combo and pushes Poirier against the fence and scores a takedown. Chandler bleeding onto Poirier as he's landing. Poirier looking for a triangle choke but lands an elbow. Poirier loses it and Chandler gets the back. Chandler trying to find a choke. He's still working for it but he has a bad position. Chandler now on top and Poirier lands short punches. Chandler lands some right hands from the top. Chandler with hammerfists but some are behind the back of the head. Chandler now landing big right hands and Poirier had a hand trapped. Poirier gives up full guard. Chandler ends the round on top. 10-9 Chandler, 19-19.

Poirier with a leg kick. Poirier with a high kick. Chandler looks for a takedown but Poirier backs up. Chandler grabs the single leg and picks Poirier up and gets him down and had the back but Poirier ends up on top and is landing. Poirier now takes the back of Chandler. Poirier gets the rear-naked choke locked in and Chandler taps! What a win for Poirier in an excellent fight.

Official Result- Dustin Poirier def. Michael Chandler by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:00 of Round 3

> UFC Women's Strawweight Championship- C Carla Esparza (19-6, 10-4 UFC) vs. #2 Zhang Weili (22-3, 6-2 UFC)

Weili with a leg kick. Weili with the pressure. Weili landing more leg kicks early. Weili with a high kick. Weili with a right hand to the body. Weili with a leg kick. Weili with a right hand and then two body kicks. Esparza grabs the leg and gets the takedown but Weili has the back. Weili with some elbows and has the reverse crucifix but they scramble. Weili has the back and is looking for a choke. They scramble and Esparza ends up on top. Esparza with some elbows. Esparza stands and Weili gets up and lands a right hand. Weili with a body kick but Esparza grabs the leg and gets the brief takedown. Weili gets to side control. Weili with some right hands and elbows from the top. They stand at the end. 10-9 Weili.

Weili with a leg kick. Weili lands a right hand then a high kick. Esparza shoots and almost gets the takedown but Weili is able to get the back. Weili has the crucifix in and has neck control. Weili has the choke locked in and Esparza taps! Weili gets the title back with the submission win.

Official Result- Zhang Weili def. Carla Esparza by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:05 of Round 2 to win the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship

> UFC Middleweight Championship- C Israel Adesanya (23-1, 12-1 UFC) vs. #4 Alex Pereira (6-1, 3-0 UFC)

Pereira comes out with a flying kick that misses. Adesanya with a leg kick. He lands another. Pereira with a pair of leg kicks. They trade leg kicks. Pereira with some leg kicks. Adesanya lands a jab. They trade body kicks. Adesanya lands a right hand. Adesanya with a leg kick. Pereira with a body kick. Adesanya with an inside leg kick. Adesanya with a leg kick. Adesanya with a body kick. Pereira with a body kick and Adesanya returns fire with a leg kick. Pereira with a body kick followed by a left hand. They clinch and Pereira with some body shots and a knee. Adesanya rocked Pereira badly at the end of the first and Pereira may have been saved by the bell there. 10-9 Adesanya.

Adesanya with a leg kick. He lands another. Adesanya with a knee and Pereira with a left to the body. They trade jabs. Adesanya with an inside leg kick then a high kick. Pereira lands a jab. Pereira with a right to the body then a knee. Adesanya lands a big right hand. Pereira lands a left hand and lands a couple more. They clinch against the fence. They break away. Adesanya lands to the body. Pereira gets a late takedown. 10-9 Pereira, 19-19.

Adesanya with a couple of kicks. Adesanya with a leg kick and lands a right hand. Pereira with a leg kick. Pereira with a body kick but Adesanya gets a takedown and gets the back of Pereira. Adesanya landing punches from the back. He lands some more. Adesanya keeping back control. They get to their feet but Adesanya puts it back down again. Adesanya ends up in the guard of Pereira and lands some shots from the top. Adesanya stands and lands an axe kick to the body and a big right hand at the end. 10-9 Adesanya, 29-28 Adesanya.

They trade leg kicks. Adesanya with a leg kick after Pereira barely landed a left hook. Adesanya with a jab. Adesanya lands a right hand. Adesanya with a jab then a right hand then a leg kick. Adesanya with a body kick. Adesanya with a right hand then a leg kick. Pereira looks gassed out. Adesanya grabs the body lock against the fence. Pereira with some body shots. They break and Adesanya with a right hand. Pereira lands a right hand. They clinch and Pereira with a knee to the body. Adesanya looking for a takedown. They break. Pereira with a left hand. 10-9 Adesanya, 39-37 Adesanya.

Adesanya with a body kick. Pereira lands a left to the body. Pereira lands a right hand. Pereira lands a leg kick that Adesanya checks and it hurt Adesanya's leg and Adesanya rolled back. Adesanya with a leg kick and a right hand. Pereira with a right hand and hurts Adesanya with a left and then a right and is landing a flurry as Adesanya slips down and Pereira continues to land big shots and it is stopped! Pereira pulls the win out of nowhere with a huge flurry at the end to get the standing stoppage.

Official Result- Alex Pereira def. Israel Adesanya by TKO (punches) at 2:01 of Round 5 to win the UFC Middleweight Championship