Alex Pereira fires back at Jiri Prochazka’s ‘good martial artist’ comments, won’t rule out UFC 295 submission
Former two-division GLORY champion Alex Pereira is one of the most decorated strikers to ever enter the UFC’s octagon.
Yet, he says you shouldn’t be surprised if he wins an MMA fight via submission one day.
Pereira has only lost once by tapout — he dropped his MMA debut via rear-naked choke in 2015 — and has since worked intensively on his jiu-jitsu and wrestling with ex-UFC champion and mentor Glover Teixeira en route to capturing the UFC middleweight belt.
Pereira meets Jiri Prochazka for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title at Saturday’s UFC 295 event at Madison Square Garden in New York, and fired back at Prochazka’s recent comments about him not being “a good martial artist” aside from his obvious striking skills.
“Not only him, but everyone who fights me think that way,” Pereira said on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast. “I wish their words were honest, that they really thought that way, because sometimes people get frustrated.
“Maybe [Jan] Blachowicz got frustrated a little bit, he thought it was going to be too easy to get my back and submit me because I’m not a jiu-jitsu guy, but I train really hard and I’m evolving, you know? I’m training with Glover and I know how hard it is for Glover to try a submission on me, to submit me. When [my opponent] comes with that mindset that I know nothing on the ground, that’s great for me.”
Prochazka ended 25 of his 29 MMA wins with knockouts and only has three submissions to his credit, the latest being his title win over Teixeira in a wild comeback in Singapore.
Pereira doesn’t expect the Czech talent to enter UFC 295 looking for a 25-minute grappling match, but is sure Prochazka “will try something different if things get hard for him” on the feet. And if they do enter a grappling exchange at Madison Square Garden, “Poatan” said “anything is possible” regarding adding the first submission victory to his MMA record.
“If I’m in a great position where I feel comfortable, I’ll sure risk it and believe in a submission. You can be sure of that,” Pereira said. “Every time I fight, I want to come out with the victory. I don’t know how it’s going to be, but I’ll be ready, I’ll be prepared. I want to go five rounds and leave no doubts, but anything can happen. I have no prediction, but anything can happen.”
“It’s going to be a war,” he continued. “Everybody knows my history and Prochazka’s history. He’s an aggressive and unpredictable guy, you don’t know where the strikes are coming. [I have to] stay alert, be smart. I’m not training only with one-dimensional guys, I’m training with several people that helped me understand his game, and I think it matches up really well for me.”