Brett OkamotoESPN staff writer2 minutes to read
Former UFC middleweight champion and multi-division kickboxing champion Alex Pereira is moving on after losing by knockout to Israel Adesanya last weekend.
Pereira, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, officially announced the news Thursday on his YouTube channel. Pereira won the UFC bantamweight championship at 185 pounds by defeating Adesanya in the fifth round of a title fight in November. He looked good Saturday in an instant title rematch at UFC 287 in Miami before Adesanya rocked him with a counter right hand and handed him his first defeat in the UFC.
My next fight will be at 205 [pounds]Pereira said, “I think I’ve done my job at 185 [pounds] And now I’m glad I’m going up to 205. Like I told you, when I feel good, I’m going up. This would be a normal thing and now I think it is. I want to make one thing clear: Section 185, I’ve always had weight. Many people had doubts, but I always fulfilled my obligations.”
Pereira (7-2) did not specify a possible opponent. The 35-year-old has an indirect history of sorts with current champion Jamal Hill (12-1), who won the UFC Championship in January by defeating Pereira’s teammate and mentor Glover Teixeira in Brazil. Pereira was in Teixeira’s corner for that fight at UFC 283.
Pereira’s rise to middleweight champion was incredibly fast. He booked the UFC title fight in his eighth professional MMA bout, in part because of his history with Adesanya. The two fought twice in the kickboxing ring earlier in their careers. Pereira won a controversial decision in 2016, then defeated Adesanya in a rematch in 2017.
Adesanya showed no interest in fighting Pereira for the fifth time – his third in MMA. However, he had always shown an interest in trying for a second championship for £205. So, perhaps if Pereira takes the light heavyweight title, the stage will be set for another chapter in their rivalry.
The UFC currently has Hill’s next title defense booked at 205 pounds.
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