Jan Blachowicz is on the verge of once again challenging for the light heavyweight title, provided he defeats Alex Pereira at UFC 291.
The former light heavyweight champion detailed the stakes for the Pereira fight on The MMA Hour.
“When I heard that he would come to our division, I just want to fight against him. I talked with my manager and they did this fight. It was easy. I said, ‘OK, give it to me.’ Why not?”
Blachowicz won the title at UFC 253, defeating Dominick Reyes in the second round. He successfully defended the title as an underdog in a dominant performance over Israel Adesanya at UFC 259.
Following that defense, Blachowicz was upset by Glover Teixeira at UFC 267. He scored a win over Alexander Rakic and a hotly disputed draw over Magomed Ankalaev in his pursuit of regaining his title.
The former champion is aware of Pereira’s excellent striking, though he expects him to share the same fate as Adesanya when they face off. Pereira must win in an impressive fashion if he hopes to damper the effects of his KO loss to Adesanya in his last fight. The former middleweight champion might lure Adesanya up to light heavyweight if he defeats Blachowicz, but also could find himself on the shortlist to face champ Jamahal Hill in a major fight.
Israel Adesanya favors Jan Blachowicz to upset Alex Pereira
Oddsmakers currently have Pereira as a favorite. That said, Pereira is aware of the danger of facing a motivated Blachowicz and is relishing the opportunity to beat him.
“Everybody knows Blachowicz is a dangerous guy, an all-rounder, but I think it’s a good first fight for me. When I saw my first fight, some people will think, ‘Oh, that’s an easy opponent.’ No, all of you know my story…For me, it wasn’t a surprise. We were negotiating a while. I was waiting for him. So, that’s it.”
Mutual opponent Adesanya believes Pereira is running into trouble. Knowing full well of Blachowicz’s skills, Adesanya envisions Blachowicz’s strategy involving bullying Pereira against the fence and using his grappling to diffuse his power.
“Jan will stand with him for a bit but eventually just get him to the fence or try to take him down the way he took me down. I don’t think he’s gonna shoot, so he’s either gonna get him to the fence.”