Michel Pereira has always had these moves. At UFC Rochester, he proved he could execute them on the biggest stage.
Rochester, NY — One of the more interesting signings of late by the UFC has got to be Michel Pereira. The Brazilian welterweight was signed off the back of a bizarre but stunning performance in ROAD FC that saw him pull off moonsaults, attacks off the cage, and spinning strikes against an opponent clearly out of his depth.
Pereira’s upside in the UFC remained a question heading into UFC Rochester. Then, things got heated at the weigh-in between himself and opponent Danny Roberts. A bit of jawing, forehead touches, and so on.
On Saturday night at the Blue Cross Arena, however, Pereira showed that he wasn’t all hype. There were spinning attacks, and yes, he attempted to use the cage Pettis-style. He also set up the finish of the dangerous Roberts with a flying knee. Roberts fell to 5-4 in the UFC. Pereira, meanwhile, improved his overall record to 22-9, 2NC.
He also showed he’s something of a character. The first thing he asked for, back stage, was a mirror. To check his hair. After that met his approval, he spoke to reporters including Cageside Press, saying via translator that he was “very happy” to get the win after training a lot to get to his UFC debut, and going through many struggles to get here.
As for that weigh-in exchange, during the face-offs, Pereira stated that “Daniel was harsh, and these things happen when you’re weighing in. That’s common, that’s normal.”
What’s not normal is Pereira’s skill set in the cage. In fact, it’s anything but normal, sharing more in common with the likes of Anthony Pettis. Asked whether he made it a point to put on a show in his debut, Pereira said via his translator that “for a long time, he’s had those moves, and he’s been mocked [for] it. Today, he shut people’s mouths, because people used to mock him. He used to be like that, and he was like that tonight.”
For inspiration, Pereira looks to a fellow Brazilian. “His biggest inspiration is Anderson Silva, because he’s very humble, the way he lives his life and everything inspires him a lot.” Though Conor McGregor and Jon Jones’ names also came out, without much in the way of explanation.
As to how it felt to get a first round knockout over Roberts, “I still don’t know exactly what happened. I need to look at the images with my team, so that I know exactly what went on and so forth.”
Watch the full UFC Rochester post-fight press scrum with Michel Pereira above!