UFC champion Alex Pereira now has another belt to show off.
UFC 281 saw two UFC belts change hands. In the co-main event, Zhang Weili defeated Carla Esparza to become the strawweight champion once again. In the main event, it was Alex Pereira with the late comeback victory over his adversary Israel Adesanya to be crowned the new UFC middleweight champion. Upon returning home to Danbury, CT, Pereira received another belt, his BJJ brown belt.
Pereira and Adesanya had some history between them. The two faced off in kickboxing twice prior to being matched up in the UFC. Pereira held two wins over the former UFC champion, one by TKO. In the leadup to the third fight, many people believed that the fans would see another kickboxing, striking-heavy bout. It turns out they were right but there was a little grappling thrown in for good measure.
Alex Pereira is promoted to BJJ brown belt by his coach Plinio Cruz
Pereira was very successful in kickboxing before deciding to make the jump to MMA. The biggest concern coming in was the inclusion of the ground game. With grappling not used in kickboxing, he had to start from the ground up. To get a leg up on his jiu-jitsu, he decided to move to Connecticut and train with former light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira.
It seems Pereira has made leaps and bounds since joining Teixeira MMA and is now a BJJ brown belt. Typically it takes anywhere from 5-10 years to earn this rank in BJJ, and it is unclear when exactly he began his journey in jiu-jitsu. Not everyone was convicted that the new rank was earned authentically. Khamzat Chimaev, who is looking for a bout with Pereira took to social media to chime in.
— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) November 16, 2022
Typically a fighter will earn their next belt following an impressive performance on the ground during a fight. The new champ scored one takedown in the fight and did not spend much time in a dominant position while on the mat.