Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight strikers Michel Pereira and Andre Fialho will go to battle this weekend (Sat., Jan. 22, 2022) at UFC 270 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Just a couple weeks into the new year, and 2022 is looking the year of short-notice opportunities and match up changes. Pereira was set to battle last week at UFC Vegas 46 vs. Muslim Salikhov, but the “King of Kung Fu” withdrew for undisclosed reasons. Instead, Pereira was pushed back to bulk up the pay-per-view (PPV) card, and he’ll meet a newcomer in Fialho. For his part, Portugal’s Fialho has fought a high-level of competition in shows like PFL and Bellator, establishing himself as one of the top-ranked Welterweights on the regional scene.
Regardless of the back story, these two will try to knock each other out in just a few days. Let’s first take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Record: 26-11 (2)
Key Wins: Niko Price (UFC 264), Danny Roberts (UFC Fight Night 152), Khaos Williams (UFC Vegas 17), Zelim Imadaev (UFC Vegas 9)
Key Losses: Tristan Connelly (UFC Fight Night 158), Dusko Todorovic (Serbian Battle Championship 19)
Keys to Victory: Pereira is a wild man and a risk taker, but there’s definitely some method to his madness. Namely, the Brazilian is absolutely gigantic at 170-pounds — sometimes too big, based on the occasional weight misses and conditioning problems — and he uses that size to bully his foes with range strikes.
Against a big puncher in Fialho, Pereira’s usual strategy will likely be in effect, but there’s an added risk to falling off the game plan or winding up in a bad position. Expect the silliness factor to be turned down a touch, seeing as Fialho puts opponents to sleep with regularity.
The primary key for Pereira is to be all the way in, or all the way out. The latter is fairly self-explanatory: Pereira does his best work with snapping front kicks and powerful straights, and he has the build to land from a distance Fialho cannot match. However, Fialho is unlikely to just hang back and let himself get kicked.
He’s going to swing big and chase after Pereira. When he does, Pereira would be wise to mix in his wrestling, which is surprisingly solid for a wild kicker. So long as he’s wrestling or kicking, Pereira is likely in control.
Record: 14-3 (1)
Key Wins: James Vick (XMMA 1), Stefan Sekulic (UAE Warriors 24), Javier Torres (Bellator 207)
Key Losses: Antonio dos Santos Jr. (LFA 92), Chris Curtis (PFL 2019)
Keys to Victory: Fialho is known as “The Knockout Machine,” and he really lived up to that moniker last year. He scored four wins in 2021, all via knockout, and three were in the very first round!
In general, Fialho’s strategy is simple enough. He’s an aggressive slugger with real power in his hands, and he tries to force his opponents into physical trades of big blows. That’s a risky move vs. a fellow hard-hitter in Pereira, but it remains his path to victory.
In an even exchange of power shots, Fialho stacks up well enough vs. the Brazilian. What Fialho does not want, however, is to charge forward directly into a counter punch, which compounds the force of Pereira’s blows. Rather, FIalho has to be a bit more methodical in how he closes distance into the pocket, then go hard with his swings.
Fialho would also be smart to attack the body. Pereira moves his head well enough, but he’s got a fatiguing style and harsh weight cut, so a few well-placed digs to the liver could slow him down.
The chance of a knockout is high.
Pereira has won three fights in a row, and that number could easily be four were it not for the Diego Sanchez goofiness. Regardless, he seems to have solved his inconsistency issues, which places Pereira in position to give it a real go at the Welterweight ranks. If the Brazilian wins here, expect a high-profile match up with divisional implications next.
On the other hand, Fialho enters as an unknown in a high-profile slot. If he can upset Pereira, he immediately becomes a factor at 170 lbs. This is a big opportunity for the knockout artist, who can make a name for himself with a single victory that otherwise may have taken several fights to earn.
At UFC 270, Michel Pereira and Andre Fialho will throw down. Which man will earn the victory?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 270 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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