This past Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 291, we saw a potential title eliminator in the light heavyweight division. Former champions went toe-to-toe as former middleweight champion Alex Pereira (8-2) took on former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (29-10-1).
Entering the fight, Blachowicz talked about the fact that he would love to knock out Pereira, but he also said he would think about taking him down. Well, Blachowicz attempted his first takedown just about 10 seconds into the fight. Much to the dismay of the Salt Lake City crowd.
Blachowicz was able to take the first round just leaning heavy on the grappling. Pereira did a good job defending despite getting caught in some bad spots. In the second round, Blachowicz started getting noticeably and Pereira was able to keep the fight standing. The former middleweight champion easily won the second round and appeared like he could finish things at the end of the round.
The third round was competitive. Pereira felt like he was in control of the striking, but Blachowicz had moments. Blachowicz landed a takedown in the final minute, but he didn’t do anything to generate damage after getting the takedown. When the scores were read at UFC 291, the judges were split but Alex Pereira got his hand raised and I think that was the right call.
What’s next after UFC 291?
This was a huge win for Alex Pereira and I think it vaults him right into a title shot. With Jamahal Hill vacating the title due to an injury, the door is open for the former undisputed UFC champion Jiri Prochazka and Alex Pereira to take center stage for the 205 strap.
Prochazka never lost the light heavyweight title. A shoulder injury caused him to vacate the title just like Hill just had to vacate the title. He’s clearly going right into a title shot and I don’t think the UFC messes around with having Pereira fight again. It’s the biggest fight to make and I think that’s what we will see before the end of 2023.