Welterweight Michel Pereira is at a crossroads ahead of his fight at UFC Vegas 55. On one hand, a win in his next outing means a good bump up his division’s ladder. On the other, the Brazilian is a fan of his opponent, Santiago Ponzinibbio, which gives him mixed feelings about the whole matchup.
During a press conference, Pereira told Super Lutas how he has always been an admirer of Ponzinibbio, both as a person and as a fighter, which made the pairing quite difficult for him to accept. However, Michel is willing to take advantage of the opportunity in order to take his career to the next level.
“He’s such a nice guy and I really appreciate his style, too,” Perira said. “I was really happy to fight him, but at the same time, I was not too happy. He’s more Brazilian than many Brazilians, He´s like a Brazilian Argentinian and I don’t really like to fight Brazilians, but I need to beat him in order to enter the rankings.
“I don’t think this fight will last three rounds,” Pereira added. “I’m going out there to knock him out or submit him. I don’t think it goes the distance. I need the win to enter the rankings.”
Currently on a four-fight winning streak, Pereira (25-11-2 NC) defeated Andre Fialho, Niko Price, Khaos Williams and Zelim Imadaev. The 28-year-old’s latest loss dates back to a disqualification defeat to Diego Sanchez, in February 2020, due to an illegal knee.
Now, Pereira is expected to take on Ponzinibbio at UFC Vegas 55, on May 21, at the UFC Apex. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a women’s bantamweight bout between former champion Holly Holm and contender Ketlen Vieira.
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