June 20, 2024
Alex Pereira announces move to light heavyweight after losing UFC middleweight title to Israel Adesanya
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Alex Pereira has closed the door on an immediate mixed martial arts rubber match with Israel Adesanya, but he cracked the lid on a potential super-fight down the line. On Wednesday, Pereira officially announced his move to the light heavyweight division after losing the UFC middleweight championship to Israel Adesanya at UFC 287.

Adesanya scored a cathartic measure of revenge against Pereira in Miami, knocking out the man who beat him three times across kickboxing and MMA. There were concerns surrounding Pereira’s comfort in making the middleweight limit, but he brushed those off when announcing his transition to 205 pounds.

“Many people questioned [my weight cut] but I always went there and fulfilled my obligation, but now is a great moment to move up a division,” Pereira said in Portuguese in a YouTube video translated by MMA Fighting. “You see Adesanya’s post-fight provocations, he treats this win like it’s 3-1 for him and it’s not quite like that. I understand his joy — or try to understand it — it was his dream to win once against me and he’s done it, but let’s see what his behavior is now.”

Pereira is confident that an immediate rematch with Adesanya could have been arranged had he remained at middleweight.

“I’m moving up a division now, and that’s my decision, but I’m sure that if I stayed in this division I can could fight him immediately. Let’s see how he behaves,” Pereira said. “I’m not going up because I can’t make the weight anymore. I can make the weight at any moment.

“He’s behaving like that because Dana White talked about my weight right after the fight and it looks like he thinks, ‘This guy will never make 185 again so I’ll provoke him and there’s nothing he can do’. I’m sure I could fight him immediately if I insisted on this, the organization and my managers would make this fight.”

Pereira, a two-division Glory kickboxing champion, was an elite striker who dabbled in MMA before signing full-time with UFC in November 2021. Pereira knocked out Adesanya to capture the UFC middleweight championship in just his fourth UFC fight and eighth overall in MMA. There are plenty of story-rich matchups for Pereira at light heavyweight as he prepares for a revenge tour against reigning light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill and former champion Jiri Prochazka, the last two men to defeat Pereira’s mentor Glover Teixeira.