Magomed Ankalaev Highlights Where He ‘Can Catch’ Alex Pereira On The Feet In Potential UFC Title Fight: ‘His Standup Is Overrated’

UFC light heavyweight contender Magomed Ankalaev doesn’t see what’s so special about the striking of his division’s champion.

Alex Pereira finds himself atop most lists when it comes to the current top standup fighters competing on mixed martial arts’ biggest stage. His fearsome reputation on the feet was built as a two-weight Glory Kickboxing champion.

He’s since enhanced it inside the Octagon, where he’s delivered brutal knockout after brutal knockout to secure the crowns at both middleweight and light heavyweight.

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“Poatan” currently reigns with the latter in his possession, and he cemented that status last weekend in the main event of UFC 303, where he got the better of Jiří Procházka for the second time in emphatic fashion.

It didn’t take long for talk to turn to the Brazilian’s future, and one high-ranked contender was waiting in the wings to stake his claim with a number of posts on social media.

And as his campaign for another title shot continues, Ankalaev has made a bold assertion regarding the champ…

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Ankalaev Downplays Pereira’s Striking Superiority

During a recent interview with MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn, Ankalaev reiterated his belief that a clash with Pereira makes sense later this year and assessed how they match up against one another.

Many have long touted the Russian as a future threat to “Poatan” owing to his wrestling abilities. Ankalaev, however, has dismissed the notion that he’ll be outgunned on the feet by what he described as an “overrated” striking game.

“With Alex, you just have to watch a couple of his past fights,” Ankalaev said, via his translator. “With (Jan) Błachowicz, you know, his wrestling was on a level and Alex didn’t have much to offer. Same with (Israel) Adesanya, they’re both strikers but Adesanya was able to show him some wrestling.

“I think he is a great striker. But he is the kind of guy who always moves forward, and that is where sometimes he might make a mistake. That’s where I might catch him,” Ankalaev continued. “Definitely he has a strong punch, but I think just overall, his standup fight is overrated. Watch his fight with Jamahal Hill; he had something to offer to counter him. Same with the fight with Procházka. … He was probably lucky or didn’t face serious opposition. Wrestling is there, but I’m ready to fight with him standing up.”

In pleading his case for a showdown with Pereira, Ankalaev has vowed to knock the champ out. Whether that will be the path he pursues in a potential fight down the line or if he looks to overcome “Poatan” in the grappling realm remains to be seen.

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