Israel Adesanya wishes referee Marc Goddard gave him longer leash in TKO loss to Alex Pereira at UFC 281

MMA news

NEW YORK – Israel Adesanya disagrees with the referee Marc Goddard’s stoppage in his title loss.

Adesanya lost the UFC middleweight title to Alex Pereira in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 281. Adesanya (23-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC), who was up three rounds to one on all three judges’ scorecards, was stopped by Pereira (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) with a standing TKO in the fifth round.

After he was tagged with a big left hook, Adesanya was on wobbly legs and fell back against the fence. Pereira kept the pressure on and kept the shots coming, and though Adesanya never dropped to the canvas, Goddard saw enough to stop the fight.

Adesanya was not happy with the stoppage.

“It’s crazy, but yeah, I was fine,” Adesanya told reporters at his post-fight news conference at Madison Square Garden. “First thing I said to (coach) Eugene (Bareman) or the ref, I was fine because I was still lucid. I was in there. But yeah, sh*t happens.

“I was fine. I could see everything. My eyes might have rolled back a little bit, but I was lucid.”

Adesanya thinks Goddard should have let the fight continue to give him a chance to recover or go out in a more definitive way.

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

As far as what’s next, Adesnaya thinks he merits a rematch against Pereira.

“Of course, of course – come on, man.” Adesanya said. “This is my third fight in 10 months. Every time I fight, I risk losing what you guys deem as prestigious, which it is the belt and all that sh*t. But nah, I put it on the line because I’m not just trying to fight once and then chill, do my lap around and parade as the champion and not risk so much. I put it on the line, and this is what happens. Again, dare to be great, and I am.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 281.

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