Pereira, a former two-division GLORY kickboxing champion, will make his promotional debut against Andreas Michailidis at UFC 268 on November 6. The 34-year-old is 3-1 in his MMA career, with his most recent victory ending in a scary first-round KO of Thomas Powell in November last year.
Pereira will bring to the UFC stellar credentials as a kickboxer. But perhaps his most marketable asset will be his status as the only man to KO Israel Adesanya, way back in 2017. That left-hook blow was the last action of “Stylebender’s” illustrious 75-5 kickboxing career before he entered the UFC in 2018.
The widely-shared footage of Israel lying flat on the canvas almost seems unbelievable given his dominance atop the UFC middleweight division. And it wasn’t the first time Pereira had defeated Adesanya, either. A year prior, the Brazilian did so via unanimous decision, and now in the UFC, he’s gunning for a trifecta against the middleweight champ.
Teixeira Says Adesanya Is “Praying” Not To Face Alex Pereira
One man who knows Pereira well is long-time training partner Glover Teixeira. Speaking to MMA Fighting, the #1 ranked UFC light heavyweight said he believes Adesanya will be “praying” to avoid his compatriot.
“Daddy’s in the UFC,” said Teixeira. “Adesanya doesn’t wanna talk about it, ‘This guy is just getting here,’ but he knows it’s a tough one for him. No one gives Adesanya more trouble at 185 than him. I’m not saying he’s going to win, it’s another fight, another time, another style, but Adesanya must be praying, ‘For the love of God, put someone like Phil Davis for this guy.’”
While Teixeira gives credit to Adesanya’s UFC accomplishments, he believes Pereira’s KO power will be too much to handle in four-ounce gloves.
“Adesanya is no match for him,” continued Teixeira. “First of all, he’ll be coming in sh*t-scared. [Pereira] knocked him out with 10-ounce gloves. With four-ounce gloves on his hand now … and Adesanya doesn’t have the knockout power Poatan has. He’s f*cking good, don’t get me wrong, Adesanya is awesome, but he doesn’t hit like him. Adesanya hits like a normal guy, Poatan is not normal.”
What do you think? Is Alex Pereira a threat to Israel Adesanya’s middleweight dominance?