One of the top kickboxers in combat sports, Alex Pereira has transitioned to MMA without a hitch. The Brazilian is a former UFC middleweight champion and can become a two-division titleholder when he faces Jiri Prochazka for the UFC light heavyweight crown at UFC 295 on November 11.
Prochazka is a former champion who relinquished the belt due to injury. This will be Pereira’s third MMA fight in Madison Square Garden where he is 2-0. If he can go 3-0 and win gold for the second time inside The Garden, then he may reach “legendary” status in what has been a small window of time.
The upcoming fight looks to be a Fight of the Year contender.
Pereira, who is known as “Poatan”, has trained with the recently retired former light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira, who Prochazka beat for the belt in the 2022 Fight of the Year. A win could return the title to Team Teixeira.
“I’m not going into this fight with mixed emotions about vengeance,” Pereira told CBS Sports’ Shakiel Mahjouri via MMA Fighting. “I don’t want to play that game. I want to go with a very positive mindset. I’m going to fight with the mindset that they haven’t even fought before. But looking into the other side of being able to bring Glover his belt back and put it back in the gym, that means a lot to me.”
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Here’s all you need to know about Pereira, from his early beginnings to where he stands today in combat sports.
Pereira is a former world kickboxing champion with a record of 33-7 with 21 wins via knockout. He has an 8-2 MMA record with six wins via knockout.
Training in kickboxing since 2009, Pereira is a former WGP Kickboxing Middleweight Champion, a WAKO Pro Pan-American K-1 Champion, and he also won middleweight and light heavyweight gold with GLORY.
He had a fierce rivalry with former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, beating him twice. Recently, Pereira was inducted into the GLORY Hall of Fame.
“Alex Pereira was one of the greatest champions in GLORY history,” said Scott Rudmann, co-founder and Vice Chairman of GLORY. “His accomplishments in the GLORY ring speak for themselves, as the only man to ever hold the champion’s belt in two weight classes simultaneously.
“Alex continues to make huge waves in combat sports with his successful shift to MMA, and he continues to bring awareness back to stand-up combat. He devotes time and money to community service in his home country of Brazil, and he is a wonderful guy, always humble about his enormous accomplishments. We’re proud to have in the GLORY Hall of Fame.”
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In MMA, Pereira turned pro in 2015. After losing his first fight, he won seven in a row and is 5-1 in the UFC. At UFC 281 in New York, the Brazilian beat rival Adesanya via TKO for the UFC middleweight title. In a rematch in April 2023, Adesanya regained the title via knockout.
Instead of competing in a trilogy, Pereira made his light heavyweight debut in July, beating former champion Jan Blachowicz. Now, he competes for gold at 205.