At the last year's tournament of the world's strongest fighting league, two titles changed hands at once.
The result of the main event at UFC 281 in New York City on the night of November 13 could be characterized with the phrase "there were no signs of trouble.".
The middleweight champion fought the Brazilian Alex Pereira and was very confident in his fight.
Undoubtedly, the challenger held his ground decently and even had local successes from time to time. However, the advantage of the New Zealander was noticeable, and everything was going logically to the unanimous decision of the judges in favor of the champion.
But in the fifth round, with just a couple of minutes left to the final bell, Adesanya missed a seemingly minor punch to the chin, which nevertheless forced him to open up for a split second.
It was a chance the Brazilian didn't miss. He hit the New Zealander's head with another series of powerful blows. And seeing that his opponent, pressed to the net, sank, he did not allow himself to stop.
The referee waited, hoping that by some miracle the champion would be able to get out of this difficult situation, but it did not happen. The referee waved his hands, stopping this amazing fight.
Alex Pereira, whom Adesanya had called unworthy of a title fight the day before, won by technical knockout. And now he had to give the Brazilian his championship belt.
After this fight many people remembered the recent fight between Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards, where the champion was the clear favorite and confidently won the fight on points.
But in the final round he also missed a shot to the head (at that time, though, with the leg) and was knocked out. And at the same time he lost his title. It seems that destroying big champions is becoming a tradition in the UFC.
As for past events, for Adesanya, who was considered one of the best fighters in the world, the real tragedy is not even that he lost the title, but that he lost to a fighter who has been in the UFC amateur.
Even worse, in the history of their personal rivalry, Adesanya lost to Pereira for the third time in three fights including their previous kickboxing encounters.
In the women's minimum weight category there was also a change of the champion. But here the challenger from China Weili Zhang was initially seen as a favorite, so she easily took the belt from American Carla Esparza.
The fight between lightweights Dustin Porter and Michael Chandler ended with a mini-sensation, before which the latter called himself the winner and the next opponent of Islam Makhachev in the title fight.
However Porier did what Chandler himself does so well. Dustin strangled his opponent, forcing him to surrender for the first time in his career. Porter himself may see his victory as a chance to challenge for the lightweight title.
Other curious events were the change of the decision of one of the judges in the women's bout between Carolina Kowalkiewicz and Silvana Gomez Juarez, and the decision not to continue the fight of Peru's Carlos Pueles, who got tired of being punched by Dan Hooker.
As for UFC legend Frankie Edgar's farewell fight, it didn't turn out pretty. The less titled but more motivated Chris Gutierrez was a head-scratcher against his big-name opponent, knocking him out in the first round.
Nevertheless, Frankie was given a standing ovation in front of a packed house. And rightly so. Edgar still remains in the history of mixed martial arts, even if his time has passed...