Former UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira (7-2) is officially moving up to light heavyweight and he has his first fight booked. Dana White announced this evening that Pereira will be taking on former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (29-9-1) in his divisional debut.
The fight goes down as the co-main event of UFC 291 in Utah. A BMF title fight between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje will headline the card. However, this is definitely a co-main event that will have the attention of the masses.
The future for Jan Blachowicz was in flux at 205. Back in December, he fought to a draw with Magomed Ankalaev for the interim light heavyweight title. Following that fight, he hinted that he could move down to 185 pounds to fight Israel Adesanya after Adesanya won the title back from Pereira.
However, the decision was made for the former UFC champion to remain at light heavyweight. He will be tasked with welcoming the former middleweight champ up to 205.
Alex Pereira got a fast track to the middleweight title because of his history with Israel Adesanya. The two men had fought twice in kickboxing with Pereira winning both fights including one by a devastating knockout. After Pereira won his first three UFC bouts, the promotion booked the title fight.
Adesanya was winning on the scorecards entering the fifth round, but Pereira poured it on and secured a TKO win in the final round to become the first middleweight to defeat Adesanya in the UFC. In doing so, he also became the middleweight champion.
Because of the history of Adesanya in the middleweight division, he was given an immediate rematch. This time, Adesanya exacted his revenge by knocking out Pereira in the second round. After the fight, Pereira announced that he would be moving up to light heavyweight.
If Pereira is able to defeat Blachowicz, expect him to get a title shot. Jamahal Hill is going to defend his title against Jiri Prochazka at some point and whoever wins this fight in July will be there to fight the winner.