Alex Pereira, first and foremost, is known for tremendous punching power. His monstrous left hook was the key to victory in his second kickboxing battle opposite Israel Adesanya, as he became the only man in any combat sport to stop “Stylebender” via knockout.
Of course, there’s more to Pereira than raw power. He’s got a refined and technical kickboxing attack that capitalizes on his natural punching ability, but he’s not totally reliant on it. Kickboxing champions rarely earn that status on brute force alone. That’s what makes his upcoming UFC 281 main event battle vs. Adesanya so exciting: we have two masterful kickboxers who will put their technique on display.
While speaking to Brazilian MMA Fighters, Pereira revealed a little bit about his game plan to topple Adesanya. It should come as no surprise that “Poatan” is promising another knockout, but what does get interesting is Pereira’s insight into his actual strategy.
“I can tell you that it will be impossible for him not to engage, if he’s within my reach I will hurt him,” Pereira said (via LowKickMMA). “And five rounds he won’t make it, five rounds? And I come close, you can see in the fights that I come close, I have a very good defense. He will want to attack or counterattack, but I can hurt him with my defense too.
“I saw in his fights that he kicks a lot and the guys don’t have the right time, the right time to block, you can hurt him with a block. The guy kicked, you blocked, maybe he won’t kick anymore. He’s got a big weapon and I can sort of eliminate it early on, I’ll be close to him, if he doesn’t hit me he’ll get beaten, and if he hits me he’ll get as tired as me.“
Based on the above quotes, it would seem that checking kicks is a major part of Pereira’s strategy. Time and time again, Adesanya has diffused dangerous strikers with the consistent application of his distance kicks, specifically his low kick. Everyone knows its a major part of his strategy, but those far, no one at Middleweight has been able to negate that weapon.
Pereira’s plan seems to be to introduce his knee to Adesanya’s shin. A single hard check can easily break bones in the kicking opponent, and even if that doesn’t lead to a Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva-esque horror show, it makes it much harder to kick effectively. In that case, Adesanya will almost be forced to trade hands with Pereira — not an enviable position to be in!
We’ll find out if “Poatan” lives up to his promise on November 12 in Madison Square Garden.