Alex Pereira Details The Injury That Could Have Kept Him Out Of UFC 281 Title Fight

Newly crowned UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira reveals an injury that almost kept him out of his UFC 281 title bout.

Alex Pereira
Credit UFC on Instagram

Alex Pereira is the newest UFC champion although he almost didn’t make it to the event at UFC 281.

Just a few weeks removed from his UFC 281 win over Israel Adesanya, new UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira is in all his glory. Coming into the bout with Adesanya, Pereira was ahead in their meetings 2-0. He defeated the former UFC champion twice in kickboxing before making the transition over to MMA. When the two were first set to meet many people believed that the smaller gloves of MMA would make a difference and many were picking Adesanya to win. 

Throughout five rounds it seemed as though that would be the case as Adesanya controlled most of the action and was winning on the judge’s scorecards. In the fifth round, Pereira came out knowing that he needed a finish and did just that. He is now the UFC champion with just eight professional MMA bouts under his belt. 

Alex Pereira reveals that he suffered an injury two months before the fight

This bout with Adesanya was the biggest opportunity of Pereira’s career and he was not willing to miss out on it for anything. He revealed while he was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani that he suffered an injury two months prior to the bout and did consider pulling out. 

“It was actually hard that it happened two months before the fight,” he said via a translator. “I went to the doctor’s for that, I actually tore all the ligaments in my finger and I couldn’t do grappling at all. I had to focus on hitting with the more upper part of my knuckles was a process but, you know, I couldn’t lose the opportunity.”

Pereira describes his injured finger and how it kept him from grappling in the lead-up to the fight. Coming into the bout, his ground game was the biggest question mark in his arsenal. Coming from kickboxing, Pereira is fairly new at grappling, and although now he is a BJJ brown belt, he did not have a sound ground game during the fight. He admits that he could have pulled out last minute but in the end, although he might need surgery, it all worked out for the best. 

“It happened when I sprawl during one of the practices I hit my fingers straight on the mat, my fingers went fully sideways, tore all the ligaments so when that happened I wanted a doctor, was two months before the fight,” he said. “I thought my fight is over but the doctor told me you do need surgery, but you don’t need to do this he can try to push so he taped the finger together.”

Pereira says the injury kept him from hitting as hard as he can. He is already known as one of the hardest hitters in the UFC and scored a TKO over one of the most dominant champions the UFC has ever seen with an injured right hand. He claimed he did not let the media know because he did not want to be accused of making excuses. 

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