Alex Pereira’s MMA skills have always been questioned
Before he came to the UFC, Alex Pereira was far more experienced as a kickboxer (33-7) than a mixed martial artist (4-1). When the UFC fast-tracked him to the Octagon because he had 2 kickboxing wins over then-UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya, the critics complained.
One of these critics was our own Trent Reinsmith who wrote in 2022 that Pereira had been rushed into an unearned title shot against his old rival Adesanya. Here’s what Trent said at the time:
“If Pereira had not defeated Adesanya in another sport, this fight would not be happening at this point in his career. However, the UFC is not a meritocracy and the promotion has often put short-term gains over long-range plans. For the UFC, this fight is a slam dunk. It has an easy to market backstory, it has a villain in Adesanya for his “boring” style in his recent title defenses and it has a potential savior in the exciting knockout artist in the underdog, Pereira. This fight is all about exploiting the fans for the UFC’s financial gain.”
Pereira went on to KO Adesanya to take the title (which he lost in the rematch) and is off to an impressive start in the UFC’s light heavyweight division, beating ex-champ Jan Błachowicz by split decision at UFC 291.
Prochazka previously won the light heavyweight title in 2022, but decided to vacate the belt due to shoulder surgery. In a weird sequence of events, Jamahal Hill went on to win and also quickly vacate the belt soon after due to a freak basketball injury.
Prochazka now faces former middleweight champ Alex Pereira for the vacant belt, as he tries to regain the title that he never lost in the cage.
Jiri Prochazka is not impressed by Alex Pereira’s MMA skills
“It’s for me a beautiful story and big challenge,” Prochazka said (ht MMA Fighting). “I have to say, Alex, he’s not a good martial artist like on the ground on the wrestling but one thing he can do and knows what to do is his striking. It will be a pleasure to compete with him in the stand-up.
“He’s good in stand-up but not good in wrestling and all these things. He’s too much focused on striking. He’s very good at that but on the other things, other styles, he’s not good, too. I am not too good of a wrestler to say that but I think I am better than him. Doesn’t matter. That’s my opinion, my stance.”
“I think now is not a good time to speak about that more because it’s behind me,” Prochazka said of vacating his title. “One thing I have to say… it was not my idea to release the title but I agreed with that. I confirmed that because I believe in myself that when I go to the cage again after all these things, I can take that title again. So, that’s why I did that.”
One can’t help but be reminded of Israel Adesanya’s comments about Pereira before their first UFC title fight.
“No, I don’t think [he presents the toughest challenge],” Adesanya said. “He’s very one-dimensional. He’s early on in this game as well so I’m even glad to get him now. I don’t know who he has in his corner. I know he has Glover [Teixeira] and his boxing coach. I don’t know what their background is, I don’t really mind, I just worry about me. I definitely know he’s not as smart as me in the cage. I know that for a fact.”
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