Top Contender Magomed Ankalaev believes UFC Champ Alex Pereira’s striking is “Overrated”

We are just about one week removed from UFC 303. Last Saturday night in the main event, Alex Pereira (11-2) successfully defended his light heavyweight title for a second time when he knocked out former champion Jiri Prochazka (30-5-1) in the second round.

After the win, Pereira was asked about moving to heavyweight, but he made it clear that he’ll do whatever the UFC asks him to do. Pereira has defeated Jan Blachowicz, knocked out Jamahal Hill, and knocked out Prochazka twice in the four fights he’s had at light heavyweight.

There’s still more work to be done at light heavyweight and Dana White alluded to that in the post-fight press conference. That work is tied to top contender Magomed Ankalaev (19-1-1, 1 NC). Ankalaev hasn’t lost since 2018 and just fought for the vacant title at the end of 2022 fighting to a draw with Jan Blachowicz. It’s clear that he’s the next in line for the UFC champion and he’s not holding back his confidence.

UFC Light Heavyweight Title

In speaking to MMA Junkie, Ankalaev made it clear that if he chooses to use his wrestling against Pereira, the fight will not be close. However, it’s the comments about the champion’s striking that has everyone raising their eyebrows. Ankalaev believes that while Pereira has a good amount of power, his striking as a whole is overrated.

I have to say, it’s shocking hearing that considering we are talking about a multiple weight champion in GLORY Kickboxing as well as a two-division UFC champion. Alex Pereira is about as good as it gets and it’s a little stunning to hear that Ankalaev believes his striking is overrated. Ankalaev believes he can beat the champion wherever the fight takes place.

While I’m all for confidence, I would bet my savings account that Ankalaev would look to wrestle early and often against Alex Pereira in a potential matchup. He’d be foolish not to. We saw Jan Blachowicz completely destroy Ankalaev with leg kicks when they fought. Ankalaev couldn’t even stand and let me tell you, Pereira has the best leg kicks in the division.

To Ankalaev’s credit, he’s doing his job building up this potential UFC title fight months before it’s going to happen. He’s very confident and that’s what you need against a champion like Alex Pereira who is walking through everyone he faces.

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