Michel Pereira gets quick KO at UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs. Barboza
Michel Pereira has found a new weight class in the UFC. The Brazilian was originally a welterweight, but after a weight cutting mishap for a fight against Stephen Thompson, he decided to move up to middleweight. We saw a glimpse of middleweight Michel at UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs. Barboza this past Saturday when he faced Andre Petroski.
Pereira needed a little more than minute to send Petroski to the canvas for the first-round finish.
Pereira reps a different flag for the fight
Pereira, a Brazilian, chose to bring out the Israeli flag for last night’s fight.
At the post-fight presser Pereira explained his decision:
“It is because of the war that is happening in Israel. I have a lot of friends there, and I saw some videos that broke my heart,” Pereira told the media through a translator. “I saw a little kid, and he was sleeping; when the kid woke up, he was starving. Now I have a baby, I have a kid at home, so when I saw the video, it broke my heart. I decided to have the flag to support Israel.”
MMA Mania added some context, “Indeed, Israel and Palestine are currently at war again, which was the leading cause of Pereira wearing the flag. He also trains with UFC fighter Natan Levy, who is Israeli, so that might have had an impact.”
The UFC had banned any fighter from repping any flag in the Octagon in 2022 (there was a fiasco that led to an employee firing in 2020 when a fighter brought out a flag representing a separatist region of what was then Armenia but is now Azerbaijan but Dana White recently dropped the ban.
Dana White’s recent comments regarding the dropped flag ban are always worth reviewing:
“Flags are back,” White said at a post-fight presser (quotes via MMA Junkie). “I was on vacation during the Mexican Independence Day, and the no flag thing drove me crazy. So I was like, ‘Yeah, f*ck that. We’re bringing flags back.’ It drove me crazy.”
White said he initially didn’t think the flag ban was a big issue, and it wasn’t something he was overwhelmingly against. As time wore on, however, he disliked what was happening, and now the fighters are free to represent their respective countries.
“There’s a lot of things that go on in a company this big,” White said. “You can’t micromanage everything. Sometimes things are done for the intentions of the right reasons, or whatever. Everybody in this room knows the way that I feel about a lot of things. Basically, ‘I don’t give a f*ck,’ is the answer to most things.
“Everybody’s too soft, everybody’s too sensitive about everything. When the decision was made to do this, I was just like, ‘Eh, what’s the big deal if they don’t have flags?’ Mexican Independence Day flipped the switch and I was like, ‘That’s enough of the no flags thing.’ Flags are back. If any flags hurt your feelings, too f*cking bad.”
Pereira staying at middleweight for foreseeable future
Pereira has struggled with weigh-ins throughout his career. He missed the 170 lb welterweight limit at a 2019 UFC Fight Night and even failed to make the middleweight limit at a Road FC event in 2018.
“I’m very happy, prepared, excited in this new division because I don’t need to cut a lot of weight,” said Pereira at his media day (video provided by MMA Junkie). “I’m feeling very well as a middleweight right now. I have a lot more energy, so I was training more and better. I’m confident. From now on, I’m a middleweight. I feel better. My personal life is better being a middleweight. Even when I was a welterweight, I was training with big guys, and I was always the bigger guy as a welterweight. But now I feel like I’m a middleweight. My body is a middleweight, so I’m going to stay in this weight division.”
“I’m in love with my life right now,” said Pereira. “I’m loving the fact that I’m a middleweight. I was even making jokes backstage because I didn’t used to like doing interviews when I was cutting weight. Now I’m happy.”
Pereira plans to be much more active at middleweight
The win over Petroski did not just prove the weight to be successful in the cage for Michel Pereira, but also outside of it. With 15 fewer pounds to cut before a match, the Brazilian feels ready to be a much more active fighter in the Octagon.
Though he makes no promises, Michel Pereira tells Ag Fight that he would be willing to step into the cage as frequently as possible. In fact, if the promotion allows him to, the Brazilian could go for five fights a year, or more.
“I didn’t fight a year and half. I was afflicted. Only training and no fighting. I’m so happy. That’s such a weight off my back. A win like that makes me really happy. There’s no more weight problems now, either. 15 pounds is a week of weight cutting. There’s no timing issue anymore. If the UFC asks me to fight on a week’s notice, I’m ready. Cutting weight is not a problem anymore. It’s so easy. You just suffer a little in the last part. (Now I can do) four, five or even more fights, if they let me.”
Join the new Bloody Elbow
Our Substack is where we feature the work of writers like Zach Arnold, John Nash and Connor Reubusch. We’re fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please help us by subscribing today.
About the author