The man who defeated Israel Adesanya twice already in professional kickboxing is finally making his UFC debut. He is not thinking about the ‘Last Style Bender’ at the moment though. Paired up against Andreas Michailidis at UFC 268, Alex Pereira prefers to worry about the task at hand first.
In an interview with Combate, Pereira explained how his intention in the UFC is to become the champion, not necessarily fight Adesanya. In fact, ‘Poatan’ might not even be interested in taking on Israel if there is not a belt on the line.
“People always ask me that question. I want to make it clear that I’m here to fight for the belt. I think about being the top guy. My fight with Adesanya will not be tomorrow, so why think about him? I don’t. When I get to a title shot, he might not even be there anymore. If he’s not, why would I want to fight Adesanya? I don’t want to fight him. If he hast the belt, then I want him.”
Against Michailidis, Pereira expects his opponent will try to trade shots with him on the feet, as dangerous as Alex believes this might be for Andreas. However, the Brazilians to make his opponent uncomfortable enough to force him to change strategies.
“He’s a guy who trades shots on the feet, he tries a few takedowns, they’re not very successful. It would be better if he tried to take me down. I think he believes he can stand with me. A fight is a fight, but the numbers speak for themselves. I’m in a better moment. Because of my skillset. I’ll force him to take me down. When your gameplan is to take the other guy down, that’s one thing. When you’re forced to do so, that’s another.”
Currently on a three-fight winning streak, Pereira (3-1) came back from a four-year hiatus with a knockout win over Thomas Powell, back in November 2020. The 34-year-old’s only MMA loss happened in his debut, when got submitted by Quemuel Ottoni, backin October 2015.
Now, Pereira is expected to meet Michailidis at UFC 268, on November 6, in New York City. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a rematch for the welterweight belt between the champion, Kamaru Usman, and former interim title-holder Colby Covington.