Explore the extraordinary ascent of Alex Pereira in the UFC, capturing championships across two weight classes. Delve into the high-stakes clash that crowned Pereira the ninth dual-title holder in UFC history and the journey that led to this historic victory at UFC 295.
Alex Pereira, in his mere two-year tenure in the UFC, has clinched championships in two distinct weight classes.
The pinnacle of his recent victory was halting Jiri Prochazka via TKO at 4:08 into the second round during UFC 295’s main event at Madison Square Garden. This triumph bestowed upon Pereira the vacant UFC light heavyweight championship, marking him as the ninth dual title holder in UFC’s extensive history. Earlier this year, he had claimed the UFC middleweight championship.
The turning point of the bout emerged as Pereira dropped Prochazka with a resounding left hook while pressed against the cage. Seizing the moment, Pereira transitioned swiftly to mount, delivering a barrage of punches and elbows. Despite Prochazka’s efforts to retaliate, referee Marc Goddard intervened, prompting a controversial halt to the bout that saw some disapproving fans in attendance.
Reflecting on the match, Pereira remarked, “The outcome was no surprise after the initial left hook. As he stumbled into my grasp, I pursued the finish. I reckon the stoppage was warranted.”
In agreement with the decision, Prochazka remarked, “It was justifiable. I was incapacitated. Nevertheless, my determination remains undiminished.”
The UFC’s light heavyweight division encountered a tumultuous phase following Jon Jones’ voluntary relinquishment of the championship to transition to the heavyweight division. With Pereira’s ascent, there’s hope for renewed stability. Prochazka’s forfeiture of the belt in late 2022 due to a severe shoulder injury led to Jamahal Hill claiming it after triumphing over Glover Teixeira in January. However, Hill’s tenure was short-lived as he succumbed to an Achilles tendon injury in July, forcing him to relinquish the title.
ESPN had positioned Pereira as the division’s second-ranked contender ahead of the bout.
Post-victory, Pereira issued a challenge to Israel Adesanya, proposing a face-off in the light heavyweight category. With a standing record of 1-1 against Adesanya in the UFC, Pereira holds a previous upper hand, having defeated Adesanya twice in kickboxing. The next probable challenger for Pereira upon Hill’s recovery appears to be Hill himself.
Pereira, with a record of 9-2, notably shares a training affiliation with Teixeira and holds the distinction of being the sole fighter to headline consecutive UFC events at Madison Square Garden. Hailing from Brazil and presently based in Connecticut for training, Pereira claimed the UFC middleweight title by knocking out Adesanya at MSG in November 2022. At 36, he carries the legacy of being a former two-division Glory Kickboxing champion and was recently inducted into the promotion’s Hall of Fame. His record at MSG stands at an impressive 3-0.
On the other hand, Prochazka, with a track record of 29-4-1, boasted a winning streak of 13 consecutive fights, three of which were inaugural finishes in the UFC. As the former light heavyweight champion of Japan’s Rizin promotion, he conquered Teixeira to claim the UFC light heavyweight title in June 2022, marking his prowess at 31 years of age.