Pereira on Adesanya: ‘Nothing more fair than a trilogy at middleweight’
Alex Pereira made his UFC light heavyweight debut on Saturday night in Salt Lake City, taking a split decision victory over Jan Blachowicz. While the fight was close, it was still an impressive performance: Pereira hung with a former 205 pound champion that handily beat Israel Adesanya when “The Last Stylebender” attempted to make the same move up from middleweight.
The dream scenario in our mind would be for Pereira to take the vacant light heavyweight title and then fight Adesanya in a champion vs. champion bout. Best laid plans rarely work out all that well, though. As far as “Poatan” is concerned, he has a simpler plan for an Adesanya UFC trilogy fight that he laid out at the UFC 291 post-fight press conference.
“Before my last fight happened, when I made weight I told the guys that I was going to be for now taking a break from the weightclass due to it was getting a little harder to cut in a short span of time,” Pereira said through a translator. “So I went up to light heavyweight now, but I want to do one more fight at light heavyweight, take some time from all those cuts, and then I actually want to fight in the lower weightclass, middleweight.”
“Because on my mind is we [Adesanya and Pereira] are 1-1 at middleweight. I won one at middleweight, Israel won the other one. So nothing more fair than a trilogy at middleweight.”
Pereira seemed unsure about getting a shot at the currently vacant light heavyweight title.
“I don’t know,” he replied when asked about fighting for the belt. “I do think that Jan was the toughest in the division. He’s a former champion and a very dangerous guy, as everyone can see. So whoever they put, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m here to do my work and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to train to give a show and come out with the win.”
“Poatan” did admit that he felt pretty good not having to cut a ton of weight for UFC 291.
“I feel good, I feel energized,” he said. “Recharged compared to the last few weight cuts. This one was only 20 to 30 percent compared to the other ones. But, like I said, I just need a little break to rest a little bit and I’m going to do some unfinished business at middleweight.”
Israel Adesanya hasn’t publicly commented on Pereira’s win in Salt Lake City, but he did like a tweet from Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh criticizing “Poatan” and his massive weight cuts.
“Not sure what solution is but sad to see fighting being a lot about who can lose and gain 20lbs pre and post weigh in,” Kavanagh wrote. “The focus should be fighting skills.”