Star coach Zahabi backs UFC ref’s decision: “A scissor knee was coming!”

✔ Zahabi: More damage could have "ended Adesanya’s professional career"

Firas Zahabi, the head coach of Tristar Gym, believes that referee Marc Goddard did Israel Adesanya a favor when he stopped the UFC 281 fight with Alex Pereira.

This past Saturday, Pereira won by TKO in the fifth round of his fight against Adesanya. Down 3-1 on the scorecards, Pereira stepped up his game in the fifth round, coming out strong. After a checked leg kick knocked Adesanya off balance, Pereira backed Adesanya up against the cage and continued with a barrage of power punches. The referee had seen enough and stopped the fight before more damage could be inflected on Adesanya.

Pereira captured the middle weight title with his victory over Adesanya. This was Adesanya’s first loss at middleweight. His consecutive title defense streak ended at five.

Adesanya told reporters at his post-fight news conference at Madison Square Garden that he disagreed with the ref’s decision.

“I was fine. I could see everything. My eyes might have rolled back a little bit, but I was lucid.”

He believes that he would have been champion had Goddard not stepped in.

“F*ck, my ego would say at least let me go out on my shield,” Adesanya said. “But I don’t think I would have gone out because I was still there. I’ve seen worse stoppages. F*cking bring back Steve Mazzagatti. I would have been fine. He might have won that round, but I’d still be champion.”

While Adesanya may have been in disagreement with Goddard’s decision, Firas Zahabi believes that it very well could have saved Adesanya’s career. He praised Adesanya’s performance overall, but he feared that had the fight continued, Adesanya would have been taken down with a scissor knee. In a post-fight analysis on his YouTube channel, Zahabi said:

“Pereira could have very possibly ended Adesanya’s career if the referee did not intervene. Guys, if the referee did not intervene, a scissor knee was coming. Guys, the greatest scissor knee I have seen in all of combat sports, ever, is Alex Pereira. …

Zahabi does not believe that Adesanya could have held out against Pereira’s scissor knee.

“It’s an incredible knee from a giant, who’s incredibly explosive. He throws it incredibly quick. I thought when Adesanya was dazed like that, the knee was coming. If Marc Goddard did not step in, it could have been a serious concussion, broken jaw, broken orbital, 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.”

Do you think Adesanya should have been allowed to continue?


Watch Zahabi’s Full Post-Fight Analysis

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