Adesanya announced the news during an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Friday night.
Adesanya most recently defended his title at UFC 276, defeating Jared Cannonier via a unanimous decision. He outlasted former champion Robert Whittaker earlier in the year in February at UFC 271.
The Adesanya/Pereira fight will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York for the promotion’s annual card in the Big Apple.
Israel Adesanya & Alex Pereira Will Meet For A Third Time
Pereira made his UFC debut against Andreas Michailidis at UFC 268 during the UFC’s last trip to MSG, earning a second-round knockout. He went on to earn a unanimous decision win over Bruno Silva in March before dismantling Sean Strickland at UFC 276.
After three fights in the UFC, the former Glory champion Pereira will meet Adesanya for a third time during their respective combat sports careers, this time with an MMA title on the line.
Pereira defeated Adesanya twice during their tenure in Glory, including in their second fight via knockout. He’s the only fighter in any combat sports discipline to knock out Adesanya.
Following Adesanya’s losses to Pereira in Glory, he went on a run in the UFC en route to a title win over Whittaker at UFC 243. He’s gone on to defend his title against the likes of Marvin Vettori, Paulo Costa, and Yoel Romero.
UFC 281 is also the targeted card for a lightweight clash between Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler, which is rumored to be in the works for a five-round bout. The remainder of the UFC 281 bout order is expected to be finalized in the coming months.
What is your early prediction for Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira?