Alex Pereira has scored some stunning knockouts during his combat sports career, but the Brazilian middleweight says he doesn’t need to add Sean Strickland to his list of finishes.
“Honestly, I’m not thinking about a knockout. If it’s a fight [that ends] by decision, winning clearly, I’d prefer that. I want to feel [the fight], you know? Just like the [Bruno Santos] fight – three rounds, a war, him trying to take me down and myself defending it. If I get taken down, I’m getting back up and maybe taking him down as well.”
Peireira’s response is a notable departure from the predictions of first-round finishes often offered by fighters ahead of their bouts. That being said, Peireira’s road to the UFC and a full-time career in MMA hasn’t exactly been typical.
Making The Transition
After going 3-1 in MMA while still prioritizing kickboxing, Pereira fully committed to the sport when he joined the UFC in 2021. All of his pre-UFC bouts ended inside the distance, and his UFC debut lasted just over a round when he knocked out Andreas Michailidis with a flying knee.
The 34-year old put in his most complete performance as an MMA fighter in his most recent fight against Bruno Silva. “Poatan” was taken down twice and had to overcome some adversity but still managed to win 30-27 scorecards from all three judges for a unanimous decision win.
Any time in the cage is valuable at this point in his MMA career, and Pereira likes how his skills match up with Strickland.
“He’s a dangerous guy, very tough,” Pereira said. “But, with my fighting style, I think it’s a great fight for me. He comes forward willing to engage, you know? He wants to win. That motivates me a lot. I think my technique could be better than his.”
Strickland will look to extend his current six-fight winning streak with a win over the Brazilian, but much of the narrative heading into UFC 276 will revolve around Pereira and UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya.
Pereira holds two wins over Adesanya from their time competing as kickboxers in GLORY. “The Last Stylebender” is expected to defend his middleweight title against Jared Cannonier in the main event at UFC 276, and the winner of Strickland vs. Pereira could be next in line for a shot at the middleweight belt.
What do you think of Alex Pereira’s ideal outcome for his fight with Sean Strickland?