UFC 291 Aftermath: Gaethje and Pereira Eye Title Shots, The Future of Dustin Poirier Revealed

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In a stunning debut at light heavyweight, former UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira showcased his skills and made his case as a top contender for the promotion’s coveted light heavyweight title. At UFC 291 on Saturday, Pereira secured a hard-fought split decision victory (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) against former light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz, despite some controversy surrounding the judges’ scorecards.

Pereira’s journey to the light heavyweight division began with only three wins in the UFC middleweight category before he received a title shot. His exceptional rise to prominence in the promotion has been nothing short of impressive, and the victory over Blachowicz adds further weight to his claim as a legitimate title contender.

Blachowicz, a highly-respected former champion, pushed Pereira to the limit during the bout, leaving many fans and pundits divided over the outcome. While some felt that Blachowicz had the better fight, Pereira’s performance cannot be denied, especially considering his transition to a new weight class.

The light heavyweight division has been in a state of flux since the departure of long-reigning champion Jon Jones. The belt has been vacant since Jamahal Hill was forced to relinquish it due to a ruptured Achilles tendon. Blachowicz had previously fought Magomed Ankalaev to a controversial draw when the belt was vacant, and Ankalaev is expected to have another opportunity soon, alongside Hill and former champion Jiří Procházka, who are currently recovering from injuries.

“My focus is always the belt,” Pereira emphasized after the fight through an interpreter. “I want to fight for the belt, it doesn’t matter against who.”

Pereira’s journey to the light heavyweight division was fueled by his remarkable performance against UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya. He defeated Adesanya by fifth-round TKO but later lost the belt in a rematch via second-round KO. Rather than pursuing a trilogy with Adesanya, whom he had beaten twice during his illustrious kickboxing career, Pereira opted to move up a weight class for a new challenge.

His decision to jump to light heavyweight has proven to be a wise one, as he immediately made a significant impact with his victory over Blachowicz. The light heavyweight division has been longing for a stable champion, and Pereira’s arrival has injected fresh excitement into the weight class.

As the dust settles from the thrilling encounter at UFC 291, the MMA community eagerly anticipates what’s next for Alex Pereira in his quest for the light heavyweight title. With his impressive track record and undeniable talent, it’s only a matter of time before he steps into the octagon to vie for the most coveted belt in the promotion.

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