Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya fought for the Empire State Building.Credit…Roy Rochlin/Getty Images Empire State Re

U.F.C.’s highlights include two championship fights and a thrilling bout in one the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s most deep divisions. 281 Saturday Night at Madison Square Garden.

Israel Adesanya, the U.F.C.’s middleweight champion, will attempt to defend his belt for the seventh time against Alex Pereira, a rising mixed martial arts contender who defeated Adesanya twice in the earlier stages of their careers in kickboxing fights. Adesanya joined the U.F.C. in 2018. Adesanya, who joined the U.F.C. in 2018, has an undefeated record at 185 pounds middleweight and has lost just once in mixed martial arts when he competed for the 205-pound heavyweight belt in March 2021. Adesanya is a controversial figure in U.F.C. despite his dominating performances of recent. Fans are proud of Adesanya’s inability to knock out an opponent since 2020.

In the co-main event, Carla Esparza, the women’s strawweight champion, will face Zhang Weili, who is also a former champion and lost the belt last April via knockout to Rose Namajunas.

Esparza, the inaugural 115-pound champion in 2014, defeated Namajunas in a split decision in March, but has been booed and criticized this week for that fight’s lack of action. Fans have been more supportive of Zhang, the U.F.C.’s first Chinese-born champion.

Dustin Poirier (a U.F.C. fighter) will be fighting before the title fights. veteran and former interim champion, will face Michael Chandler in a bout carrying significance atop the men’s lightweight division. Poirier, who was a member of the U.F.C. After completing three fights against Conor McGregor, Poirier rose to fame in 2011.

Chandler, a former champion of Bellator, another promotion company, joined U.F.C. In 2021, Chandler joined the U.F.C. After thrilling fights against Charles Oliveira, Justin Gaethje, and Tony Ferguson, Chandler quickly made him a fan favorite. Chandler knocked him out in May with a brutal front kick.

Both fighters rank in the top five division ranks. The winner will most likely be given a title shot or fight against Oliveira (now-No. Islam Makhachev, the last month’s winner of the belt, was the 1 contender.