DALLAS, TEXAS - JULY 30: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria attends...

DALLAS, TEXAS - JULY 30: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria attends UFC 277 at American Airlines Center on July 30, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images/Carmen Mandato

Years ago, the UFC made a promise to bring a monster card to its first event at Madison Square Garden. That wound up happening in 2016, and the promotion for the most part has lived up to that every year since.

This Nov. 12 looks to be no different as middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will defend his title against Alex Pereira at UFC 281 inside MSG.

Pereira has seven pro MMA fights -- and only three in the UFC — but this fight gets its heat from their shared history. Pereira holds two wins over Adesanya in their kickboxing careers, one by decision and one by knockout.

"Have I ever shied away from a fight?" Adesanya said on ESPN's "SportsCenter" on Friday night when asked taking the bout.

Adesanya (23-1) is the second longest reigning middleweight champion in UFC history with five consecutive defenses.

Pereira (6-1) has five wins by knockout. His UFC wins came against Andreas Michailidis, Bruno Silva and most recently Sean Strickland.

"He's gonna come at me from bell to bell and I'm gonna do the same," Adesanya said. "And every time someone brings a fight, I raise the bar."

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