In the co-main event of UFC 291 tomorrow night, we are going to see a title eliminator at light heavyweight between two former champions. Former middleweight champion Alex Pereira (7-2) will make his light heavyweight debut as he takes on former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (29-9-1).
With Jamahal Hill getting injured and vacating the light heavyweight title, it’s expected that the winner of this fight will take on Jiri Prochazka later this year for the vacant title. Of course, Prochazka was the undisputed champion before having to vacate the title himself due to an injury.
Before Hill became champion, Blachowicz actually fought Magomed Ankalaev for the vacant title. The fight was underwhelming and actually ended up a draw. That led to Hill fighting Glover Teixeira for the vacant title. Blachowicz is still desperate to get back to the title that he lost to Glover Teixeira.
Speaking of Teixeira, that is the lead MMA trainer and close friend of Alex Pereira. Pereira is moving up to 205 after losing his rematch to Israel Adesanya back in April. After Pereira defeated Adesanya last fall to become UFC middleweight champ, Stylebender exacted his revenge in style. Now, Pereira moves up to likely his ideal weight class to clash with the former champ Blachowicz.
UFC 291 Prediction
My prediction for this fight really comes down to the game plan of Blachowicz. If Blachowicz fights like he did in the championship rounds against Israel Adesanya when those two fought, I think he has a chance of dominating this fight. A lot is going to come down to the grappling defense of Pereira.
Blachowicz is competent on his feet and we know he has that Polish Power, however, I don’t think he wants to test himself against Pereira. Pereira is one of the best strikers on the planet and Adesanya himself said that he hits harder that Blachowicz does. While Pereira has been hurt inside the octagon, I think he has a strong advantage on the feet.
The best thing for the UFC would be Pereira winning in terms of business. However, I just don’t see it happening unless these two just stand and trade. I think Blachowicz is going to lean heavy on the grappling and it might make things ugly, but it’ll get Blachowicz the win and the title shot he wants.
Prediction: Jan Blachowicz by TKO – Round 3 (Ground and Pound)