This past Saturday night in the headliner of UFC 287, the middleweight title was on the line. Alex Pereira (7-2) was trying to move to 4-0 in combat sports competition against Israel Adesanya (24-2) while successfully making his first title defense.
These two fought for the first time in MMA back in November. It was a close fight throughout with Adesanya having the slight edge. Then, in the fifth round, Alex Pereira poured it on and got the TKO win to move to 3-0 against Stylebender while taking his middleweight crown.
The second fight this past weekend started out very similar. Both men having moments in the first. Adesanya had a more diversified attack while Pereira started doing serious damage with leg kicks. In the second round, Pereira continued to chop down Adesanya’s legs and had some big moments with combinations.
Late in the round, it appeared that Adesanya’s leg buckled and Pereira had him against the fence. He ripped to the body and threw a flying knee with his hands down. Then, out of no where, Adesanya uncorked two huge right hands that sent the Brazilian to the mat. A follow up hammer fist was icing on the cake as Adesanya knocked out Pereira to regain the UFC middleweight title.
What’s next after UFC 287?
When the fight ended, I really thought they would just run this back. The two men are 1-1 in MMA competition and there’s a real lack of compelling middleweight challengers for Adesanya. However, Adesanya shot this down and Dana White hinted that Pereira would move to 205.
For the sake of this, let’s say the former UFC champion moved up in weight. If he moves to 205, I think he goes right to the top of the division. If Jiri Prochazka is going to come back this year, he is getting the next shot at champion Jamahal Hill considering Prochazka never lost the belt.
However, if Prochazka isn’t ready, I could see Pereira going right to a title fight with Hill. The matchup is very compelling and Hill has already been jabbing at the former UFC middleweight champion. If he needs a tune-up fight at 205, a fight with a guy like Magomed Ankalaev could make sense for Pereira.