clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Michel Pereira claims Pettis dodged UFC Vegas 17 showdown: ‘It was either fear or it’s because I’m not ranked’

UFC Fight Night: Pereira v Imadaev Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Michel Pereira will be taking part in a sure-fire matchup with fellow welterweight striker Khaos Williams this evening (Sat., Dec. 19, 2020) at UFC Vegas 17 live on ESPN+ from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, but the Brazilian nearly locked down a fight with former UFC champion Anthony Pettis.

Pereira, who is coming off a memorable submission finish over Zelim Imadaev this past September, was hoping to land a bigger name in his final Octagon appearance of 2020. “Demolidor” is just 2-2 since making his UFC debut back in 2019, but Pereira has shown the potential to be one of the most exciting fighters on the entire roster.

That’s probably why the 27-year-old welterweight aimed high for his next fight by calling out Pettis and former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. Unfortunately, neither fighter accepted the offer and Pereira was left to take on Williams, who has won his first two UFC fights in a combined 57 seconds.

“I asked to fight Anthony [Pettis] and Robbie Lawler. They got offered that fight and they didn’t accept it,” Pereira told reporters during UFC Vegas 17’s virtual media day.

Pettis and Lawler are true vets of the game and rarely turn down offers to fight, especially against an entertaining striker like Pereira. When asked why the two former UFC champions didn’t accept the offer to fight Pereira revealed it was one of two reasons.

“It was either fear or it’s because I’m not ranked,” said Pereira. “He [Pettis] said he had a back injury and that’s why he wouldn’t face me. Now he’s fighting the same day that I am so I thought it was weird. It’s either because I’m not ranked or he fears me.”

Pettis, who hasn’t fought since a decision win over Donald Cerrone this past May, will also be in action at UFC Vegas 17 as he headlines the “Prelims” card against Alex Morono. It’s unknown at this time why “Showtime” would have chosen Morono over Pereira for this weekend’s card, but maybe it’s because Morono has 11 UFC fights under his belt and has won three out of his last four.

In any case, Pereira and Pettis will both have their chances to impress in style-friendly matchups this weekend in Vegas. If both welterweights are able to win in memorable fashion maybe UFC is able to piece the matchup together for early 2021.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 17 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.