At this past weekend’s UFC Vegas 9 welterweight Michel Pereira treated us to another rendition of his bizarre and sometimes effective fighting style. Though fans watching at home didn’t get to see any flips or cartwheels, they did see the Brazilian blow his opponent—Zelim Imadaev—a kiss and then deliver a slap to his left ear.
Pereira won his bout with Imadaev in the closing seconds of round three. That’s when ‘Demolidor’ was able to get on the Chechen fighter’s back and suplex him to the mat, which he followed up with a rear naked choke. The fight was called off even though it’s questionable whether Imadaev actually tapped out.
Despite the controversial finish, few are doubting the winner of the fight; Pereira beat—and slapped—Imadaev from bell to bell.
In his post-fight comments Pereira explained why he used so many open palmed strikes on Imadaev. Apparently they were pay back for what went down during the face-offs, where Imadaev threw a slap—that half-landed—at Pereira.
“I don’t know why exactly he did this, but I told him I would pay him back, and I did in the fight,” said Pereira (ht MMA Fighting). “I’m a man – you cannot slap my face.”
“I showed my hand, I kissed my hand and I slapped him so he can learn he’s not going to do it again,” he continued. “He cannot do that.”
Pereira also talked about Imadaev’s phantom tap at the end of the third. “I didn’t feel when he tapped, but the position was very, very tight. So in that case, he would tap or he would sleep.”
Imadaev tapping or not tapping doesn’t change the fact that Pereira secured a $50,000 bonus check for his wild and entertaining performance. Next up, despite being just 2-2 in the promotion, Pereira said he wants to fight top ranked Jorge Masvidal for a shot at the novelty BMF belt.