Alex Pereira eager to show grappling at UFC 291

Alex Pereira seems ready to showcase his grappling chops against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291's co-main event.

By: Lucas Rezende | 4 months ago

Hello, boys and girls. It is Thursday once again, which means it’s time for another edition of the Brazil Beat. The weekly roundup of all the news in the Brazilian fighting community, all conveniently put together in one place by yours truly.

IMAGO/ZUMA Wire: Alex Pereira is set to face Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291.
IMAGO/ZUMA Wire: Alex Pereira is set to face Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291.

This week, we’ve got former middleweight champion Alex Pereira making his light heavyweight debut at UFC 291, as well as Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Priscila Cachoeira talking about their upcoming bouts. Additionally, we’ve got Norma Dumont speaking about the women’s featherweight division and even some boxing and Jungle Fight, too.

So let’s dive right in.

Can Alex Pereira outgrapple Blachowicz at UFC 291?

In our top story of the week, we’ve got former middleweight champion Alex Pereira making his light heavyweight debut at UFC 291 against none other than Jan Blachowicz in a match that’s leaving fans divided on who to pick.

In an interview with Combate (translated by Bloody Elbow), ‘Poatan’ explained that he had been wanting to move up to light heavyweight even before losing the title to Israel Adesanya in his last match. Now that the moment is here, the Brazilian knows he needs to be careful with Blachowicz power, but if the Polish former champion decides to grapple, much like he did against the ‘Last Stylebender’, Pereira guarantees he is ready to show his ground skills, too.

“Before my last fight with Adesanya, I said ‘I want to move up. I want to go to a different division. No matter what happens. Win or lose, I’m moving up’. I needed this break. I need a couple of fights in this division so my body can recover. I’m maintaining the same weight, 103 kg (227 pounds). The only thing that changes is my diet. I’m eating well now. I don’t have that ‘I’m weak, I didn’t eat that thing’ excuse now. No, I’ve eaten everything.”

“I think he’s better at striking [than grappling]. Lots of people don’t know and I haven’t had a chance to show my quality on the ground. If he forces (the takedown), I think I’ll be able to show some in this fight. I think his striking is more dangerous than his grappling, though.”

I wonder how good Alex Pereira’s ground skills are. We know Blachowicz can control big guys on the ground, so that’s a big question mark.

Marcos Rogerio de Lima to play it smart against Derrick Lewis

Moving on from light heavyweight Alex Pereira to a longtime heavyweight veteran, Marcos Rogerio de Lima may score the biggest win of his career at UFC 291. Paired up against former title challenger Derrick Lewis, the Brazilian knows he needs to impress next Saturday.

Not one to usually leave fights for the judges to decide, ‘Pezao’ does not intend to take any different track against the ‘Black Beast’. Although the Brazilian knows that Lewis is one of the most dangerous knockout artists of the division, Lima tells Ag Fight (translated by Bloody Elbow) he plans on not giving his opponent any room to do his thing.

“This is going to be a defining moment in the UFC. I’m so ready for this fight. I’ve been training a lot of boxing, muay thai. My grappling is also on point. I’ve been training with Marcus Buchecha, so we exchanged a lot of info. (Augusto) Sakai has been helping me a lot, too.

“I’m very well-rounded for this fight.” Lima said. “We’re just waiting for Saturday so we can let it all out. It’s all about smart defense. Knowing the right time to move out of range, to block. Derrick Lewis will need some room to hit me hard. And room is something he won’t have in this fight. So that works in my favor.”

I don’t think beating 2023 Lewis carries the same weight as it did a couple of years ago, but it would still look good on anyone’s record, for sure. Would a win here mean Pezao has what it takes to make it to the top of heavyweight? Probably not, but if he can get this victory bigger fights will likely follow.

The best version of Priscila Cachoeira yet

After 11 months away from the cage, Priscila Cachoeira is back at UFC 291. Though the layoff was long, the Brazilian guarantees she has not been sitting idly all this time. In fact, she claims it is quite the opposite.

In an interview with Ag Fight (translated by Bloody Elbow), Cachoeira explains how her time away has been invested in improving. To hear her tell it, fans can expect her best version yet next Saturday, when she meets Miranda Maverick. Futhermore, ‘Zombie Girl’, plans on using the fact that nobody knows what she has been up to to her advantage.

“Ever since my last fight, I’ve just been training and training, correcting flaws. I’ll show a completely different version now. I haven’t fought in 11 months and nobody knows how much I have evolved. You better believe it I’m ready for wherever the fight goes. Be it on the feet or on the ground, I’m prepared. I have wonderful leaders and wonderful coaches. I’m sure that in these 11 months, nobody has looked behind the scenes. Nobody knows about my evolution. You’ll see it on Saturday.”

It seems a little wild to think that Cachoeira will have really evolved that much even over 11 months, especially considering how raw her wrestling and grappling were to start. However, Miranda did take the fight on short-notice, so the Brazilian has that going for her this time.

Dumont off to 135 with women’s featherweight extinction

Moving away from UFC 291 to other UFC matters, women’s featherweight contender Norma Dumont is leaving the division for good. But it doesn’t look like she actually had a choice. After being informed by the promotion that the weight class would be getting closed down, the Brazilian announced her drop to women’s bantamweight in an interview with MMA Fighting.

“They said, ‘Look, there’s really no one else to fight, Norma,’” Dumont said. “There’s no point fighting lower level athletes. [They said,] ‘The reality is, there’s no one else.’ It really makes no sense to me and to [the UFC].”

“That’s happening a lot,” Dumont said. “They announce a fight [at 135] and then the athlete has a hard time making weight, and they move it to 145. [UFC] said the division would be closed in September because that would be the last fight.”

Frustrating as the news is, after all the work Dumond had put into the women’s featherweight division, it sounds like she still sees a silver lining in providing some fresh blood to women’s bantamweight, after Amanda Nunes’ exit.

“I didn’t see where to go and I was a bit tired and frustrated to do tough fights, to fight and beat bigger and heavier women, but move in no direction,” Dumont said. “That’s very upsetting. I had talked to the UFC already about it, [that] they should either let me go or end the division for good and I would try to move down. The way things were, that wasn’t good. I saw no future there.”

“The division needs a new glow,” Dumont said. “Nobody wants to see Julianna [Peña], Pennington, or Holly for the belt. They want new blood, and I see three Brazilians coming hard for the title: Myself, ‘Sheetara’ (Mayra Bueno Silva) and Ketlen (Vieira). The belt will be rotating between us.”

Women’s featherweight was only created to accommodate Cris Cyborg and then it got a bit of an afterlife when Amanda Nunes became double champion, but once she was out of the picture, the UFC has wasted no time in ending it, huh? They didn’t even try to hide how uninterested in developing it they were.

Olympic medalist to make quick return after No Contest in June

In some quick boxing news, it seems Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceicao will not be sitting on the sidelines for long after his latest showing. Though there is no opponent confirmed yet, his coach tells Combate Conceicao will be back on September 15, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

“The opponent’s name will be announced in the next days by the promotion. We’re making up for the time lost in Robson’s last fight, which ended in a No Contest.”

“We’re keeping an eye on this Emanuel Navarrete against Oscar Valdez fight, so Robson can be the next challenger. He’s going to be really well-prepared. We’re still chasing the title.”

Conceicao’s last outing ended in a No Contest due to an accidental clash of heads, in June, when he took on Nicolas Polanco.

Brazilian fighter nickname explained

Brazilian MMA nicknames can be based on anything, ranging from the obvious ones (Pitbull, Bigfoot, the Spider), to pop culture references (Batman, Yogi Bear, Daffy Duck), to the absurd (Shoeface). But one of my favorite categories is when the name of another fighter becomes a Brazilian fighter’s nickname.

There is no shortage of examples. Fighters such as Marcio ‘Lyoto’ Alexandre, Marcus ‘Jon Jones’ Vinicius and Bruno ‘Cro Cop’ Lobato quickly spring to mind.

At this Saturday’s Jungle Fight 118, we have another fighter representing that category in the main event, as Julio ‘Tyson’ Pereira fights Willian Colorado for the promotion’s vacant featherweight belt.

In an interview with Combate, Pereira explains the obvious, claiming that it was an old boxing coach who gave him the nickname after he won his first three bout by knockout. With a 11-3 record, Pereira has been able to maintain the trend with 9 of those victories coming by KO. A feat he intends to repeat in the biggest fight of his life at Jungle Fight 118.

“It was an old coach who gave me the nickname. I started doing boxing with him. I got knockouts in my first, second, third fights. I was knocking everyone out, so he gave me the nickname and it stuck. It’s Julio Tyson now. The nickname says it all. I like to finish my fights in the first round. If it goes past the first, it won’t go past the second.”

Do you guys have any favorite Brazilian fighter nicknames? Tell all about it in the comments!

A Brazilian Beat

Tim Maia is probably my favorite Brazilian artist from the 70’s and he’s one of the most important figures in soul, funk and disco in the country, with a career that spans almost 40 years until his untimely death in 1998 at age 55.

He lived in the United States (and eventually got deported for possession of marijuana) in the early 60’s, but his time there expanded his horizons to many other music styles, on top of all the Brazilian genres he was already familiar with, such as samba and bossa nova.

This mix of cultures resulted in Tim Maia being one of the most creative and perfection-driven artists of his generation, earning him the nickname “Síndico”, which roughly translates to “Manager”, because he was so demanding of his musicians and sound engineers.

With songs that can go from upbeat dance-floor jams to gloom ballads about heartbreak, Tim Maia is a titan of Brazilian music and I really wanted to feature him here, even though I mostly use this space to talk about smaller artists.

Because I like to keep things bright, I’m leaving you guys with this gem from 1973 called ‘Réu Confesso’ (Confessing Defendant), but please check out the rest of his career and you won’t regret it.

That’s it for this week, folks. See you all next time. Stay safe.

Lucas out.

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About the author
Lucas Rezende
Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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