‘Alex Pereira loses to Jamahal Hill’ – UFC light heavyweight breaks down ex-champ’s chances at 205 lbs

UFC veteran Anthony Smith sees Alex Pereira getting beaten by the top-tier competitors at the light heavyweight division.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 3 months ago

After losing the undisputed middleweight title to Israel Adesanya in April, Alex Pereira decided to jump up to light heavyweight. His first assignment at 205 pounds will be against the division’s former champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291. 

But as UFC veteran Anthony Smith sees it, “Poatan” may not do as well in a heavier weight class. 

Alex Pereira expected to lose against top light heavyweights

While Smith does see Alex Pereira doing well at 205 pounds, he sees the Brazilian struggling against the top of the heap. In a recent appearance on the MMA Hour, “Lionheart” also shared his prediction for Blachowicz vs. Pereira. 

“I think he can do well, for sure. He’s going to have a tough time with some of the top guys, just with his skill set. But just in pure striking matches, I think he can do well. 

“I think Jan Blachowicz is a pretty tough matchup, if I’m being honest. I think it’s a really tough matchup. Yeah, I do [think Pereira loses that].”

Alex Pereira’s chances against the current light heavyweight champion

Currently, Jamahal Hill is the man to beat at 205 pounds, having secured the vacant title against Glover Teixeira at UFC 283 in January. Smith likewise doesn’t see Alex Pereira doing well against the reigning champion. 

“I think Jamahal Hill beats him too. “It’s a matchup thing, though. It’s a matchup thing. There’s a lot of guys at light heavyweight that he’ll beat and could look really great doing it. Jan Blachowicz is tough.”

For Smith, Pereira’s kicks may not be as effective against light heavyweight. 

“Again, we’re talking about leg kicks here — Jan Blachowicz might be the best kick defender in the entire UFC, and I’ve been saying that for a long time. But if you go back and even watch the Adesanya fight, it all starts with the leg kicks.

“Izzy’s game is very predicated on establishing his range and his striking with his leg kicks. Jan did a really good job of defending those and staying competitive in the striking, to get the takedowns later.”

How Alex Pereira is preparing for UFC 291

Ahead of UFC 291, Pereira chose former opponent Sean Strickland as one of his training partners in preparation for the bout. And he is satisfied with the short gym time they had. 

“I was surprised with his high level on the ground. He surprised me,” Pereira said of Strickland. “People say his style is kind of weird. People say that about me, too. After training with him, I’m starting to get it. 

“They are things that work. He taught us some things that I’ll practice for sure because I saw that they are very effective.”

Moving up in weight is hard, ask Israel Adesanya

Readers should remember that many fighters have tried moving up to light heavyweight from middle weight and it’s not always a recipe for success. Just ask middleweight champ Israel Adesanya who moved up to challenge light heavyweight champ Jan Błachowicz in 2021. Five relatively frustrating rounds of ground and pound later and Adesanya was back in the 185 pound class. Pereira could find himself in the same boat after his 205 pound debut.

The UFC 291 fight card so far

UFC 291 will take place on July 29th at the Delta Center in Utah, where Jan Blachowicz and Alex Pereira will serve as co-headliners. At the top of the bill is a rematch between elite lightweights Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, with the vacant BMF title on the line. 

Part of the event is the return of former interim champion Tony Ferguson, who is looking to break a five-fight losing streak against Bobby Green. Also on the card is number six-ranked middleweight contender Paulo Costa who faces Ikram Aliskerov.

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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