Saturday, December 3, 2022

The Countdown To UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira Has Officially Begun

Fight week is upon us, fight fans, which means the countdown to UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira has officially begun.

The UFC has released the official countdown video for this weekend’s UFC 281 pay-per-view. The three feature bouts on tap for fans include Israel Adesanya defending his middleweight championship against former kickboxing nemesis Alex Pereira, Carla Esparza defending the strawweight title against Zhang Weili, and a sure-fire banger between Dustin Poirier and “Iron” Michael Chandler.

All three bouts were spotlighted in the countdown episode. Below, you can catch a glimpse of what to expect, followed by the video of the full episode and the full UFC 281 lineup.

“In Brazil, there is a saying: ‘He who’s beaten up never forgets.’ I think the fact that I knocked Adesanya out will have a lot of weight on him at the next fight.” – Alex Perera

Alex Pereira, Credit: UFC.com

The countdown episode takes a deep dive into the two kickboxing bouts between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira, with both men giving their thoughts on what happened. In Pereira’s case, he openly admitted that the two wins, particularly the knockout, has helped solidify his confidence heading into this weekend’s confrontation.

“I’m expecting him to come and try to take my head off. He has a strong spirit, but so do I. So this battle’s not just physical. There’s other forces at play in this. The almighty universe blessed me with this opportunity. So I’m gonna take it.” – Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya is looking to put the past behind him by both beginning and concluding their MMA story on his terms. The countdown video shines a light on “The Last Stylebender’s” deep reflections as he heads into one of the biggest fights of his combat sports career.

“Within these last eight years, I’ve definitely had a lot of ups and downs. I had to really take a deep look at myself. And I had to make a lot of adjustments to a lot of areas. Forcing yourself to be in these uncomfortable situations and positions are what makes you better. And I solidified my spot in the history books becoming a two-time UFC champion.” – Carla Esparza

Credit: Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

The UFC’s strawweight championship slot has had a revolving door since Carla Esparza became the division’s first champion back in 2014. Now, as revealed in the countdown video, Esparza believes she’s evolved enough to halt this door for the time being, beginning with her UFC 281 title defense against Zhang Weili.

“I think I will definitely crush her in strength, ground, and wrestling matches because I am fully prepared and have trained hard.” – Zhang Weili

Zhang Weili
Credit: Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

The countdown video covers how Zhang Weili has grown since her back-to-back losses to Rose Namajunas. It also reveals that Zhang is not at all concerned with any wrestling threat that Carla Esparza may possess.

“Somewhere along the lines of these last few training camps, I forgot that this is combat. I started to look at it like an epic adventure. Just the business side of fighting started bringing me into that mindset. I’m not going into this fight with that mindset. This is kill or be killed, by any means necessary.” – Dustin Poirier

Dustin Poirier
© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Poirier is eager to return to competition by fighting for the first time in 2022 when he takes on Michael Chandler. The countdown video makes it quite clear that Poirier has no intentions of slowing down and has maintained his hunger despite losing his second undisputed title fight in his most recent outing.

“I defeat Poirier by going out there, keeping my foot on the gas, never let him get really started, wear him down, and finish him. – Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler
Photo via Instagram @mikechandlermma

The countdown video shows fans the “family man” side of Michael Chandler and also reminds them of how much of a fierce competitor he is. In the episode, Chandler appears mentally prepared to take on one of his biggest career challenges ever in Dustin Poirier.

Finally, you can view the full UFC 281 Countdown episode down below!

Below, you can find the full lineup and viewing information for UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira.

Card and bout order subject to change.

UFC 281 Main Card (10:00 PM EST, PPV)

UFC Middleweight Championship Bout: Israel Adesanya (c) vs. Alex Pereira
UFC Strawweight Championship Bout: Carla Esparza (c) vs. Zhang Weili
Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler
Frankie Edgar vs. Chris Gutiérrez
Dan Hooker vs. Claudio Puelles

UFC 281 Preliminary Card (8:00 PM EST, ESPN+/ESPNEWS)

Brad Riddell vs. Renato Moicano
Dominick Reyes vs. Ryan Spann
Molly McCann vs. Erin Blanchfield
Andre Petroski vs. Wellington Turman

Early Preliminary Card (6:00 PM EST, ESPN+, UFC Fight Pass)

Matt Frevola vs. Ottman Azaitar
Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Silvana Gómez Juárez
Michael Trizano vs. Choi Seung-woo
Julio Ace vs. Montel Jackson
Carlos Ulberg vs. Nicolae Negumereanu

Be sure to keep it locked right here on MMANews.com all fight week and throughout the event!

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