The Severe Spotlight: Alex Pereira

Building stardom is often a solo endeavour. The fishnet laid across the sea of MMA fighters and athletes is one of seldom openings. Sometimes, an opening appears, amass the washing erosion of desperate athletic claws, that fits perfectly for a specific athlete and the transition out of the Platonic Cave and out into the abyss of fortune and fandom. Other times, and more commonly, opportunity meetings timing, alongside a hefty backpack of dynamite to blast and athlete through a slight margin in the fishnet, and out onto the vast plain of riches.

Alex “Poatan” Pereira is an amalgamation of all of that. Undeniability is littered through his story. It is undeniable that his kickboxing history with Israel Adesanya plays a big part in his signing to the UFC at the experience level that he was (four fights into his career). It is also undeniable, that upon the signing of his UFC contract just three years ago, he has erupted through the fishnet gateway to super stardom with the same fuel that powers the left-hand side of his body. 9 UFC fights has seen the Brazilian amass 8 wins, 5 bonuses, two titles, two titles defences, has fought 5 UFC world champions and finished 4 of them.

Most recently, Periera stepped in to save the UFC 300 main event after the company were unable to bring together Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic. He suffered a broken toe in that fight and turned around no less than 11 weeks to save a card yet again, stepping into the main event of UFC 303 to fight Jiří Procházka. ALL of this, whilst never straying from his personal style, undeniably, Chama.

Take a moment to just think about the level of activity, the level of media attention, the skill acquisition necessary, the personal growth, the time away from family and friends, the pressure, both externally and internally. Being part of one of the biggest rivalries the modern era of the UFC has seen, in 3 years.

The frame of Pereira dominates the centre of the octagon, as the first no-sell low leg kicks crashes into the lead leg of Procházka. Procházka beings to spin his arms as he resets, his reset is greeted by a slamming body kick from Pereira. The low kicks keep flowing, the return mail getting a pause reaction that can only be described as utterly disrespectful.

The second minute see’s Pereira slowly pick off Procházka with stiff jabs, and solid footwork. An exchange exclaims the minute of fighting as a low kick lands, Procházka naturally progresses forward to stamp his authority on the exchange, yet Pereira slips the left and lands a crushing left of his own. As with most of his movements, there is little wind up, but plenty of impact.

The third minute much a repeat of the second, with Poatan now hunting Procházka, denying him space in the centre. A ferocious exchange between both men leads us to our first grappling exchange, as Procházka initiates the clinch. Here Pereira immediately ensures his underhook is sticky, and leas weight over Procházka’s underhook, driving his shoulder in front of Procházka’s to ensure that he is not exposing his back. From here we see shovel uppercuts, knees, and a chopping hammerfists to the thigh. He then opts to look for underhooks whilst monitoring the left knee of his opponent.

The nuance of that clinch is not lost on Pereira, he opts between v-gripping the bicep to land knees, to moving to a wrist grip and overhook and feeding the free hand of Procházka to that over hooking hand, to land more knees. He makes his exit from the clinch as he pummels an underhook, takes that to an over tie and drags his way out of the clinch.

The final 40 seconds see much of the same, Pereria landing and landing well with all of his weapons. No better than the buzzer beater left hook that almost cleans the clock of Procházka, dropping him as Herb Dean rushes in to call time to the round.

Procházka does not hide the fact that he is hurt well, as he skips like jelly back to his corner. He need not wait long to find his end, however.

Pereira saunters out, fakes the left hand, and comes up with the left high kick, completely decimating Procházka. The five or six shots afterwards were not necessary, neither was Dean allowing Procházka to stand. Periera’s aura exudes from the cage, yet his expression is that of getting up from the sofa to grab a refill of whatever caffeinated beverage he had just consumed.

Superstar, the sky is the limit.

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