UFC 295: Alex Pereira Becomes Two-Division UFC Champion, Calls Out Israel Adesanya
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Sunday, November 12, 2023
Alex Pereira joined the legendary list of fighters to become a two-division UFC champion after defeating Jiri Prochazka via knockout to win the vacant light heavyweight championship at UFC 295.
After former light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill was forced to relinquish his title due to a torn Achilles, the UFC booked a vacant title fight between Pereira and former light heavyweight champion Prochazka, who had also been forced to relinquish his title due to an injury.
Despite there being no trash talk or animosity between 'Poatan' and 'Denisa', there was plenty of anticipation for the main event because of their respective fighting styles and reputation in the sport. It was an intense staredown between the two as they didn't take their eyes off each other as Bruce Buffer was doing the fighter introductions.
Alex Pereira's power was showcased immediately as his leg-kicks had a noticeable effect on Jiri Prochazka's movement and the damage became visible early. The former light heavyweight champion responded well as he took the fight to the ground, where he had an advantage. Like his previous fight against Jan Blachowicz, the former middleweight champion avoided taking damage or put himself in a position to be submitted on the ground and managed to get back to his feet as the round ended.
'Denisa' was more aggressive with his strikes in the second round and caught Alex Pereira on a few occasions, but the Brazilian fired back with his trademark left-hook in close-range, which stunned the former champion, and finished him with strikes to become the new UFC light heavyweight champion. There appeared to be some controversy as many believed that the stoppage might have been premature, but Jiri Prochazka later revealed during his post-fight interview that he was knocked out prior to the finish.
Alex Pereira wasted little time setting the stage for what he hopes to be his next fight as he called out his longtime rival Israel Adesanya for an MMA trilogy. Adesanya is coming off his middleweight title loss to Sean Strickland and recently announced he will be taking an extended layoff, but an opportunity to defeat his rival in their MMA trilogy and a second opportunity at becoming a two-division UFC champion could be very enticing. They have fought on 4 occasions; Pereira won both kickboxing bouts and once in MMA, while Adesanya won their most recent MMA bout this past April.
What make 'Poatan's achievement a lot more impressive is that he was a 2-division Glory Kickboxing champion prior to joining the UFC and has now replicated that success in MMA. He made his UFC debut in 2021 and has since earned wins over former UFC light heavyweight champions Jan Blachowicz and Jiri Prochazka, former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, and reigning UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland.
It will be interesting to see what the UFC decides to do next as they have a number of options for Alex Pereira's first title defence.
Photo credit: UFC [@ufc - X]