- Israel Adesanya believes that he could have survived the round against Alex Pereira if the referee didn't stop the fight
- However, MMA coach Firas Zahabi believes that Adesanya's career was saved by referee Marc Goddard's stoppage
- Brazil's Pereira beat Adesanya in the fifth round by TKO to win the UFC Middleweight title at UFC 281
The debate rages on about referee Marc Goddard stopping the fight in Israel Adesanya's middleweight title fight at UFC 281.
Goddard called an end to the match in the fifth round, as challenger Alex Pereira rattled Adesanya with a couple of shots that appeared to have hurt him.
Pereira was declared the winner by TKO and was also crowned the new UFC Middleweight champion.
As reported by The Mirror, Adesanya stated that he could have survived until the end of the round if the referee didn't end the fight prematurely.
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“I don't think I would have gone out, because I was still there. I would have been fine. He might have won that round but I would still be the champion," Adesanya said after the fight.
'The Last Stylebender' praised Pereira, but added this wasn’t the end of their story.
Many fans agreed with the Nigerian MMA star and believed that he was denied a chance to recover from the flurry of shots. Not everyone is of that opinion, though.
MMA trainer Firas Zahabi believes that Goddard possibly saved Adesanya’s career by stopping the fight when he did, MMA Mania reported.
“If Marc Goddard did not step in, it could have been a serious concussion, broken jaw, broken orbital, or fractured skull even. It could have been something that ruined or ended Adesanya’s professional career. So I’m very grateful that Marc Goddard stopped it,” Zahabi said.
The hunter now becomes the hunted, and Adesanya is clamouring for a rematch and a chance to win his title back.
Adesanya explains why he lost
Adesanya has finally broken his silence on his loss to Alex Pereira, claiming he lost against the Brazilian due to a kick to his calf, Sports Brief reported.
Going into the battle on November 13, many fans tipped Adesanya to defend his title, but he was unable to make something good happen.
Adesanya started the fight against the Brazilian impressively and at one point was even leading 3-1, but Pereira came back strongly and knocked the Nigerian out.