Alex Pereira might not be running it back with Israel Adesanya, at least, not at middleweight.
Following his devastating 2nd round TKO loss to his rival, Pereira is likely heading to light heavyweight after having a difficult time cutting to the middleweight limit of 185 pounds. UFC President Dana White seems to think so as well, calling Pereira “A monster,” and disclosing how difficult his weight cut was for this fight.
“I know that he had, he still had like two pounds to cut leading up to [the weigh-ins],” White said. “There was like an hour left at the end. I mean, I’m not saying he’s moving to 205, but I would assume he is. You guys can ask him himself, but it wouldn’t surprise me.”Dana White on Alex Pereira’s weight cut at the UFC 287 post fight presser.
The weight cut might have affected his strategy in the Adesanya loss. “Poatan” rushed out the gates hoping to put his thrice-beaten rival down for the count, not wanting to extend his energy into the later rounds. Adesanya adapted quickly, landing a vicious counter shot that slumped him to the canvas and ended his brief title reign.
Pereira did not attend the UFC 287 post-fight presser, but it isn’t out of the question that a move up to light heavyweight is the right move for him.
Israel Adesanya encourages Alex Pereira to fight at 205
It is possible that Pereira had to cut nearly 45 pounds to make the middleweight limit. At light heavyweight, the burden of cutting weight will be off his shoulders, and he could find himself in several high-profile showdowns.
A logical opponent down the line would be former champion Jiri Prozchaka, who defeated Pereira’s coach, Glover Teixeira at UFC 275. There is also the chance that Pereira will be targetted by current champion Jamahal Hill. The two expressed interest in a fight a few months ago.
A probable initial matchup for Pereira in the light heavyweight division could be against former champion Jan Blachowicz, who had previously defeated Adesanya in a dominant performance at UFC 259, demonstrating that Adesanya may not have what it takes to compete at that weight class.
Ultimately, this could still lead to a final battle with Adesanya down the line. Adesanya seems to believe he will succeed there, saying his rival should ““Go cause problems at 205. Then f***, good luck to everybody else, because he’s a motherf***** to deal with. I’ll tell you that.”