UFC middleweight really surprised by Alex Pereira’s ground game: ‘He is no fool’

UFC champion Alex Pereira is not just a striker, says training partner.

By: Lucas Rezende | 3 weeks ago
UFC middleweight really surprised by Alex Pereira’s ground game: ‘He is no fool’
Alex Pereira and Jiri Prochazka at UFC 295.

Hello, boys and girls. It is Tuesday (we’re back, in case you missed it) once again, which means it’s time for another edition of the Brazil Beat. You know, the weekly roundup of all the news in the Brazilian fighting community, all conveniently put together in one place by yours truly.

This week, I guess it comes as no surprise that Alex Pereira has taken the headlines once again after he won the light heavyweight title at UFC 295. However, that’s not all. We’ve still got some words from his training partner Gregory Rodrigues, featherweight rising star Diego Lopes and much more. So let’s dive right in.

Alex Pereira not worried about Hall of Fame spot

He may be a Glory hall of famer and he has just won his second UFC title with a knockout win over Jiri Prochazka, but Alex Pereira is not focused on anything other than fighting.

In an interview with Ag Fight before UFC 295, ‘Poatan’ explained that the honor of being in a hall of fame sure is nice, but is not something the Brazilian is actively pursuing in his career.

“I’m only thinking about the UFC Hall of Fame in the future. I never really thought I’d be in the Glory Hall of Fame, either. It’s the same thing with the UFC. I’m just doing my job. I’m not the one putting my name there. There are people responsible for that. If they think I deserve that, then I’ll be really happy.”

The interview did take place before the fight, but does becoming a two-weight champion automatically make one a hall of famer, even if they have no title defenses yet? I think Pereira has all the potential in the world to get a defense or two under his belt, but hall of fame nominations can be quite arbitrary at times. I think he’s smart for not thinking about that anyway.

Gregory Rodrigues impressed by Poatan’s BJJ

The win over Prochazka may have been a surprise for some fans and pundits at UFC 295, but not for a certain middleweight.

While he is not a constant training partner of Alex Pereira, Gregory Rodrigues did have a chance to train with Poatan ahead of his title fight at UFC 295 and ‘Robocop’ was impressed with what he witnessed. Though the middleweight already expected a technical striking game from the kickboxer, he was impressed with Poatan’s ground game, too.

In an interview with Portal do Vale Tudo, Rodrigues pointed out how knowledgeable Pereira was on the ground and how much of a well-rounded fighter the man is.

“It was really good. I’d like to do it again. We have the same manager, so we’ve talked about this before. So this time Guimaraes (the manager) told me Alex asked if I could go train with him. I was dying to train with him, to see him work. For me, he’s currently the best striker. One of the best in the world. He has proved that in Glory and is proving it in the UFC, too. He’s really dangerous.”

“I was also able to train alongside another guy of whom I’m also a big fan, Glover Teixeira. The experience was wonderful. I learned so much. A really cool thing about Alex is that he loves teaching. Every time I had a question, he would take the time to answer and show me. That was really cool. I also helped him with his grappling, mostly. I was really surprised. The man has a ground game. He’s no fool. He’s a brown belt. In our first training sessions, I was like ‘man, he knows what he’s doing’. He’s really smart and a well-rounded guy.”

Though Rodrigues mostly focused on ground part of his training session with Alex Pereira, the UFC middleweight did share video of a ‘light’ sparring session between both men a couple of weeks prior to UFC 295. Definitely not a spot you’d like to find yourself in.

Diego Lopes wants Bryce Mitchell in a five-rounder

He has the ground game, the knockout power, the hair and he knows what he wants. In case you haven’t been paying attention, there’s a new star in the making in the UFC featherweight division. After a Fight of the Night debut against Movsar Evloev, Diego Lopes has quickly followed that up with two more bonuses in his subsequent Octagon outings.

Now that he has gotten some attention, the Brazilian has started naming names. Having knocked out Pat Sabatini in the first round of their match at UFC 295, Lopes took the opportunity to call out another top grappler in the division in Bryce Mitchell for a potential five-round main event.

“We’ll see how the ranking updates on Tuesday, right? If I get ranked, I want to fight Bryce Mitchell. I think it would be a great fight which everyone would like to see. It could be a five-round main event, I heard he’s been looking for that. I’m willing to go five rounds, too, if the UFC wants it.”

That’s a star right there. A match against someone as vocal as Bryce Mitchell is not just a smart move marketing-wise, but I think Diego would also have an advantage on the feet while they seem pretty even on the ground. All in all, nothing but clever decisions and impressive performances from this man. Plus, he represents both Brazil and Mexico.

PFL champ looking for UFC spot

Normally, former UFC fighters go on to become PFL champions, but this former Professional Fighters League champ is looking to go the other way. Having won the 2021 lightweight tournament, Raush Manfio would now like a chance to prove himself in the Octagon after parting ways with the PFL earlier this year.

In an interview with Combate, the Brazilian said he has been training with top UFC athletes and is looking for a fight in another top promotion. Though he is mainly interested in an Octagon spot, Manfio claimed he would not turn down an opportunity at other leagues such as Rizin and ONE, if they are interested in giving him a chance.

“I’ve been training hard. If I had a fight next week, I’d be ready. I’d just have to cut weight. If they gave me a four-week contract, I’d get there really ready. I’ve been training hard, I’ve been helping lots of athletes. I helped Edson Barboza train for his last fight, then I helped Armen Tsarukyan. I’ve been only helping some tough guys, so I want to fight now.”

“It’s all in God’s hands, I don’t know what’s next. My plan is to go to the UFC. That’s what my heart desires. ONE FC also pleases me, though. Rizin has a card on December 31, that pleases me. If I could choose, I’d like to go to the UFC and make a name for myself.”

Giving his most recent record, maybe the UFC will not be interested in signing Raush Manfio, but you never know. Sometimes a fight needs a last-minute replacement and that’s all it takes for you to get in. He’s still a talented fighter, though. I don’t think he’ll have any problems finding a new home, especially since he’s keeping his options open.

Former Big Brother contestant vows to beat up boxing champ

Brazilian boxing legend Acelino Freitas continues to make quite a bit of money late into his career through his partnership with Fight Music Show. Having already fought MMA vet Jose Landi-Johns and YouTube start Whindersson Nunes, Popo is now expected to take on another celebrity for his next outing.

This time around, Popo has got a match against the original Big Brother Brazil winner Kleber ‘Bam Bam’ Pedra, a 45-year-old bodybuilder and actor with over three million followers on Instagram.

In an interview with Tatame, another bodybuilder and influencer Thiago Toguro said he had the chance to talk to Bam Bam about the fight and claimed the man is taking the match quite seriously, as opposed to just a publicity stunt.

“I ran into Bam Bam at a restaurant. All of us who are his friends know he’s an authentic guy. All the crazy stuff he does in front of the cameras are for real, he also does them behind the cameras. He’s not a character. He was going to show me a move and he almost hit me. I asked to make a video with me and he refused. He said he was for real, that he’s going to mess up Popo.”

It’s celebrity boxing, right? I mean, Popo is 48 now and it makes me wonder how much longer can keep this up. Other than that, I just can’t see him losing to someone such as Bam Bam. I guess the point is to try and make it entertaining, though, right?

A Brazilian Beat

Curitiba, Parana, south of Brazil, is a city known for legendary team Chute Boxe, which made some of the most well-known Brazilian mixed martial artists in history, such as Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva, Cris Cyborg and Mauricio Rua, to name a few.

However, it is also the hometown of a deeply creative band called Machete Bomb, which has incorporated samba elements into their rock and roll sound, making their sound instantly recognizable once you hear it the first time.

With political lyrics delivered in a sing/rap style by the band’s vocalist and heavy, distorted guitars and a booming slap bass to keep the flow going, you can’t help but think of Rage Against the Machine as you listen to their songs. However, the addition of cavaquinho (an instrument similar to the ukulele, popular in samba) as well as a horn section, keeps their sound fresh and unique at the same time.

I guess there’s only so much I can say in order to paint a picture, right? The sound definitely speaks for itself, so enough talking. Here’s ‘Tiro e Queda’, by Machete Bomb. Enjoy!

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

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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