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Brad Riddell takes break from Octagon after UFC 281 defeat

Kiwi mixed martial arts star Brad Riddell will step away from the Octagon, after suffering a third straight defeat at UFC 281 at New York's Madison Sqaure Garden.

Riddell, 31, was forced to submit to Brazilian Renato Moicano in the opening round of their lightweight contest, after early finishes against American Jalin Turner and Azerbaijani Rafael Fiziev over the previous 12 months.

After winning his first four UFC appearances, culiminating in a Fight of the Night performance over American Drew Dober at UFC 263 in June 2021, the City Kickboxing fighter loomed as a possible title challenge in his division, but that dream has crumbled.

Christchurch-born Riddell will now take a break from the sport, while he takes stock of his future.

"I appreciate everyone that has been supporting me and standing by my side from day one through to these last two lacklustre performances," he posted on Instagram.

"I'm going to step away from competing in MMA for a good while, until the fire to compete comes back. I'm not performing close to my capability and it's a dangerous job if you're not fully present.

"I've been training hard for 15 years, in and out of camps with not enough rest of balance, and it's massively taken it's physical and mental toll on me.

"I know this is the right choice because, as I write this, I feel a sense of relief for finally voicing what I had been feeling for awhile. It's a hard pill to swallow, as this is what I've done my entire life and fighting was my first love, but sometimes you have to face it."

Riddell, known as 'Quake', says he will undergo surgery for some longstanding injuries, before continuing to train and coach.

He's not the only CKB athlete contemplating his future, after Israel Adesanya lost his UFC middleweight crown by technical knockout to Brazilian rival Alex Pereira.

Adesanya hints he also had "medical stuff" that requires attention, before he challenges for his title back.

On the flip side, veteran lightweight Dan Hooker rekindled his career with a second-round TKO over Peruvian Claudio Puelles, after losing four of his previous five contests, while Carlos Ulberg won his third straight in the light-heavyweight division.


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