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Monday Morning Hangover: If not the Israel Adesanya trilogy, what’s next for Alex Pereira after UFC 287?

UFC 287: Pereira v Adesanya 2 Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The UFC 287 pay-per-view (PPV) event went down last Sat. night (April 8, 2023) in Miami, Fla., leaving several fighters feeling the post-fight blues. Among them was Santiago Ponzinibbio, who was knocked out by Kevin Holland (see it again here).

And Jorge Masvidal, who was sent packing by Gilbert Burns after being dominated by “Durinho” for the majority of their 15-minute fight. Add Cynthia Calvillo to that list after the struggling strawweight suffered her fifth consecutive defeat by losing to Loopy Godinez.

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Alex Pereira.

Coming into his rematch against Israel Adesanya (fourth fight overall), “Poatan” had all the confidence in the world. After all, the Brazilian bomber already had three wins to hang over “The Last Stylebender’s” head and a fourth would put the final nail in the coffin.

But was he too confident?

It’s not to say that Pereira doesn’t respect Adesanya’s skills despite defeating him three times prior, but from the outside looking in, it seemed as if “Poatan” got a bit careless, or a bit overconfident when he thought he had Adesanya hurt. Or perhaps Izzy is just that good at playing possum.

Whatever the case may be, all it took was one small opening (and one small mistake on Pereira’s part) to give Adesanya the opportunity to clip him with two perfectly-timed right hands that put the Brazilian down and out. And just like that, “The Last Stylebender” got his title back and the much-desired revenge he’s been longing for.

For Pereira, he had to swallow a taste of his own medicine and see his short-lived reign as the Middleweight king go up in flames.

“I’m just here to let you know that I’m fine. I want to thank my family, my team and all the people who are supporting me during my journey. Now I just have to rest and continue with the plans that are already on motion. Thanks god,” said Pereira via a post-fight tweet.

But will those plans include a trilogy fight against Adesanya? From the sound of it, that may not be the case. UFC President Dana White envisions the striking specialist heading up to the Light Heavyweight division, while Adesanya remains adamant the Pereira chapter of his combat career is closed for good.

If that truly is the case, then what’s next for the now-former champion?

If he stays at 185 pounds, I can see UFC matchmakers putting him up against Marvin Vettori since he is ranked No. 3, right behind Robert Whittaker. Speaking of which, who wouldn't want to see "Poatan" face off against "Bobby Knuckles?" If he moves up to 205 pounds, a fight against former division champion, Jan Blachowicz, might be on deck. Blachowicz has a win over Adesanya at Light Heavyweight, so there’s that bit of story to it.

If Pereira did get a win over the Polish bruiser then he could jump the line and fight for the title against the winner of Jamahal Hill vs. Jiri Prochazka, which has yet to be booked.

For complete UFC 287 results and coverage click here.

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