Welcome to the UFC: Alex Pereira

Alex Pereira
Alex Pereira Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

This weekend, the UFC returns to New York City for the first time since 2019. Atop the card is a grudge match between the two best welterweights in the world. That fight will see champion Kamaru Usman fight Colby Covington in a rematch from their first meeting in 2019. In the co-main event is another rematch. Rose Namajunas, fresh off knocking out Weili Zhang in April to win the strawweight title, will battle the Chinese star once again. Ahead of a stacked main card are a slew of UFC debuts on the undercard. In an interesting one, former Glory middleweight and light heavyweight champion and the only person to knock out UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (in kickboxing) Alex Pereira will make his UFC debut. Andreas Michailidis (13-4) is his opponent, who is 1-1 in the UFC and coming off a win.

Alex “Poatan” Pereira
Standing at 6’4″
Fighting at 185 lbs (middleweight)
Fighting out of Bethel, Connecticut, US but from São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo Brazil
Training out of Teixeira MMA & Fitness
A pro record of 3-1

How will Pereira fare in the UFC:

Pereira is an outstanding kickboxer but this is based on his MMA career. In his MMA debut in 2015, he lost. In round one he did well. His striking was on point and he even won some of the grappling exchanges, almost winning with an armbar. Ultimately, his gas tank failed him and his takedown defense eventually did as well. He was submitted in round three. He returned the next calendar year and got two wins looking much better. After almost a five-year hiatus from MMA he returned a year ago and had his best performance to date.

Obviously, as a credentialed kickboxer the takedown defense is going to be the biggest question. Years ago when he was doing MMA he was taken down a few times. That was years ago though. In his latest fight, he wasn’t taken down but there was never an attempt. So it’s really up in the air. What was more concerning than his takedown defense was his clinch work. Many times Pereira would get pressed against the cage and be controlled. Not a great understanding of fighting underhooks and circling away. He was content on holding position waiting for the ref to separate the fight.

When it’s going his way, which is on the feet with space, Pereira is a frightening dude. Not only is his kickboxing high-level, but his hands are downright treacherous. The entire time you spend with Pereira on the feet it’s a hazardous game to play. Everything from his power, speed, to timing is detrimental to your health. It sucks he’s 34 but he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down anytime soon.

How he matches up with Michailidis:

Michailidis is a European BJJ champion so he has the style to beat Pereira. He’s also a three-time kickboxing champion. Michailidis tends to keep fights standing more than he initiates the grappling. If he does try to test his luck against Pereira on the feet he will get knocked out. Michailidis has the grappling to submit Pereira but his wrestling isn’t at the same standard. Pretty quickly, Michailidis’ posture stiffens and his punches reach the target much slower. This is a dangerous fight but a favorable match up for Pereira.