After impressive middleweight debut at UFC Vegas 81, what’s next for Michel Pereira?

MMA: UFC 270-Pereira vs Fialho
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday on the main card of UFC Vegas 81, we saw a big time matchup in the middleweight division. Michel Pereira (29-11) was making the move up to middleweight as he was taking on Andre Petroski (10-2) who was looking to remain unbeaten inside the octagon.

Pereira made his octagon debut back in 2019 and he was always a massive welterweight. He missed weight in his second bout and always struggled to make the 170 weight limit. Back in July, he missed weight for his bout against Wonderboy Thompson and the fight was cancelled. After the cancellation, the decision was made to move up to 185.

During the face-offs ahead of UFC Vegas 81, it was shocking to think about Pereira making 170. Petroski isn’t a small middleweight but he looked tiny compared to the massive Pereira. Turns out, Pereira didn’t take long to show just what a force he can be in the middleweight division.

He blasted Petroski with a straight right hand just about a minute into the fight. Pereira immediately pounced and rained down punches. The referee jumped in and stopped the fight giving the massive TKO win to Michel Pereira.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 81?

Back in 2020, Michel Pereira was dominating Diego Sanchez but landed an illegal knee in the third round which resulted in a DQ loss. Since that DQ loss, he’s now won six straight fights. Had that shot not landed, Michel Pereira would now be 8-1 in the UFC and he looks like an absolute force at 185.

With six straight wins behind him, what should be next for him after this big win? In looking at the middleweight division, there’s one fighter on the back end of the rankings that I think makes a ton of sense for Pereira. I would love to see a matchup between him and 15th ranked Anthony Hernandez.

Should the UFC not be in favor of that matchup, I also wouldn’t mind seeing Pereira paired up against the surging Joe Pyfer. Pyfer and Pereira are both powerful finishers and I think that would be a matchup that would get all fans excited. If I’m the match maker, these are the two fights I’d lean towards for Pereira next.

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