Alex Pereira is headed to light heavyweight.
The former middleweight champion has been cutting a tremendous amount of weight to make the 185-pound limit and it may have contributed to his losing performance against Israel Adesanya in the UFC 287 main event earlier this month in Miami.
No word yet on who “Poatan” will be facing in his 205-pound debut but former UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who also held gold at 265 pounds, believes Pereira should avoid a rough-and-tumble wrestler like Magomed Ankalaev.
“That’s the matchup that you as Alex Pereira would want to avoid,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel (transcribed by Farah Hannoun). “I think that’s the only one at 205 that you want to avoid right now is Ankalaev because Ankalaev can wrestle, and we saw that in the fight against Jan Blachowicz, where he took him down for the last three rounds. Now there’s very few wrestlers, so if you are Alex Pereira, you really aren’t as concerned about going up to 205 then you might have been in the past because there just doesn’t seem to be as many guys for you to worry about just taking you down and laying on you.”
Pereira, who turns 36 in July, continues to be criticized for his lack of wrestling, despite this effort from “Poatan” to prove otherwise. To be fair, the Brazilian has just nine fights in MMA and spent the majority of his combat sports career in the world of kickboxing.
Ankalaev, 30, has not competed since his split draw against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 282 back in December. The Dagestani bruiser scored a pair of takedowns in that contest and also racked up three in his victory over Nikita Krylov at UFC Vegas 20 in early 2021.
Personally, I’d rather see Pereira wait and bang with the returning Aleksandar Rakic.