Competing in the biggest fight of his career, under the bright lights of the world’s most famous arena, Alex Pereira delivered a highlight-reel knockout at the exact moment it needed to happen on Saturday night. During the UFC 281 post-fight press conference, Pereira revealed that his corner, including former light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira, kept it real with him as they entered the final five minutes of the fight.
“I knew it was going to be a very hard fight,” Pereira said via a translator. “I tried to pace myself, but going into the last round, my corners and Glover kept it real with me. I looked at him and said, ‘Do I have to knock him out?’ And Glover said, ‘You do have to knock him out.’ And then I said, ‘OK, let’s do it.” (h/t MMAFighting)
In the end, Pereira did exactly that, setting the eventual finish in motion with a short left that landed clean, rocking ‘The Last Stylebender’ in the process. With the champ against the fence and struggling to stay upright, Alex Pereira swarmed in, delivering a barrage of strikes that Adesanya could no longer avoid, prompting the stoppage with three minutes to go in the fight. ‘Stylebender’ immediately protested the stoppage, but later recanted and accepted that the referee made the right call.
“People can say whatever, but Izzy was taking some pretty heavy hits,” Pereira said. “The referee is there for a reason, to keep you safe. So I think it was absolutely correct.”
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 13, 2022
Alex Pereira Nearly Found Himself on the Losing End in Round One
As the seconds ticked away in round one, Adesanya landed a combination that badly wobbled Alex Pereira. If there had been more time on the clock, the contest may have never made it out of the first. Asked how badly he was hurt at the conclusion of the opening round, Pereira said:
“Very….very. It hurt me a lot. I’m not going to lie. But with that said, I think it helped me stay sharper, stay with it, and then I started to put more pressure, and also make him work more, which I think I was able to get him a little more tired, too.”
In the end, Pereira recovered on the stool and continued fighting until two minutes into the fifth round when he shocked the world and became a UFC champion just four fights into his already legendary run with the promotion.
“A lot of emotions went through my head,” Pereira said of the finish. “So many years of hard work and dedication, and here I am, champion of the world.”