With his massive win over Israel Adesanya at UFC 281 this past weekend (Sat., Nov. 12, 2022) in New York City, Alex Pereira rocketed up the Middleweight rankings into the top slot as 185-pound champion. He also made his debut in UFC’s official pound-for-pound rankings. For slaying “The Last Stylebender,” Pereira appeared in the No. 8 slot, sandwiched between Charles Oliveira and Aljamain Sterling.
There’s a lot of people who will probably question that position, given “Poatan” is just 7-1 in MMA (4-0 UFC). Already, there’s been significant chatter amongst other UFC fighters that Pereira will fall to the first half-competent wrestler he faces. Former UFC Heavyweight, Brendan Schaub, certainly thinks the Brazilian is easy pickings for anyone with a ground game.
“I’m not taking anything away from Alex, but I don’t think he beats a single guy in the Top 5,” Schaub said during a UFC 281 recap show on his YouTube channel. “Robert Whittaker, after he saw Izzy and Pereira’s grappling and the wrestling, I’m sure every guy in the Top 5 are like, ‘Dear God! Please give me that guy.’ For those guys that can actually wrestle and have not just one takedown but an arsenal, and have chain wrestling and they have jiu-jitsu higher than a blue belt, they’re foaming at the d—k to get their hands on Pereira.”
“UFC knows this, and they’re going to protect him,” Schaub continued. “Like Khamzat tweeted out, ‘I’ll fight at 185, I’ll be your champ!’ Now, if UFC wanted Khamzat to be a superstar at 170 and 185, your next fight is gonna be Khamzat vs. Alex Pereira. Khamzat beats the s— out of him. Khamzat mops the floor. Again, I’m not taking anything away from Alex, it’s all about matchups and styles and that’s a complete nightmare for him.
“UFC’s not going to do it because that discredits Izzy’s entire resume,” he continued. “If Izzy never gets that fourth fight, second fight in MMA against Alex, and Alex fights again and loses ... they have to have him fight Izzy or you’re never hearing from him again, I promise.”
While UFC President, Dana White, has suggested an immediate rematch between Adesanya and Pereira is likely, Adesanya himself has expressed an interest in taking time off after three fights in 10 months. He also referenced some health issues he needed to take care of before stepping back in the cage.
Will UFC sideline “Poatan” until the former champion is available to fight again? Or, will the promotion test Schaub’s thesis and see how he does against someone else in the Top 5? Let us know what you’d like to see next from Alex Pereira next, Maniacs!
For complete UFC 281 results and coverage click here.