UFC 291 has delivered on all fronts so far. On a night of some very entertaining fights, one that fans were definitely looking forward to was Alex Pereira vs Jan Blachowicz. In what was Pereira’s light heavyweight debut, he most certainly did not disappoint.
Following his loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 287, Pereira made the decision to move up to light heavyweight. As fate would have it, the LHW champ, Jamahal Hill recently decided to vacate the title due to an injury. Thus, the fight with Blachowicz became much more important, with potential title implications on the line.
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On the night, Pereira seemed to be a man on a mission, landing as many heavy hits as possible on the incredibly durable Blachowicz. For the most part, Poatan prioritized leg kicks, trying to limit Jan’s movement as much as possible. Joe Rogan, who was on hand for today’s card pointed out the same, stating, “That left leg (Jan’s) is disgusting.”
Over time, Pereira’s repeated kicks led to large welts on Jan’s lead left leg. In addition to that Pereira further piled on the pressure in rounds 2 and 3, taking his significant strike tally to 70 as opposed to the Polishman’s 52. Moreover, Pereira’s strikes also opened up a big cut on Jan’s nose. Thus, despite the former light heavyweight champ’s 7-plus minutes of ground control, Pereira was awarded the split decision victory.
Alex Pereira wants to fight for the 205-pound title next
Despite the fight not being what many expected, Alex will most certainly be pleased with the result. Whilst the fans came in expecting an all-out striking contest, instead they got Blachowicz trying to smother Pereira for three rounds. Trying to emulate his performance against Adesanya, Blachowicz tried to do the same against Pereira.
However, Pereira, especially with Glover Teixeira in his corner seemed ready for it. Despite giving up ground control and getting taken down thrice, Pereira did well to stuff Jan’s submission attempts. At the same time, Pereira made sure to show the improvements in his own ground game as well.
Speaking in the post-fight interview, Alex promised that there would be much more improvement from him from here on out. Further, Alex also gave a little hint about what was next for him. “My focus is always the belt. We had a conversation with the organization about the belt, and now I just want to fight for the belt. Doesn’t matter against who”. Safe to say, Pereira believes with full conviction that he will fight for the title next.
Seeing that there is a vacancy at the top of the 205-pound division, it would only make sense for Alex to have a showdown with Jiri Prochazka next. Having won the title of Glover Teixeira, Jiri vacated the title due to an injury. Now that he is back in action, a title fight with Alex is what the fans would like to see. However, will the UFC book the fight? Whilst all signs say that they should, only time will truly tell.