The stakes are greater than ever, says Alex Pereira.
Simply six fights into his MMA profession, Pereira (5-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) thinks UFC 276 will seemingly punch (or kick) his ticket into the on-deck circle for whoever holds the belt following the occasion’s conclusion.
“Whoever wins this battle will get whoever is the champion subsequent,” Pereira just lately informed MMA Junkie via a translator. “And it’s nice as a result of I’ve a transparent path forward for me, I already know what can be subsequent and that makes me very excited.”
Initially scheduled to battle July 30 vs. Sean Strickland (25-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) at UFC 277 in Dallas, the matchup was preserved however expedited three weeks forward to UFC 276, July 2 in Las Vegas – an uncommon transfer by the promotion. As followers regarded up and down the UFC 276 lineup, many theorized the transfer was intentional by the UFC, contemplating who’s atop it.
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) defends his title towards Jared Cannonier (15-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC) in the principle occasion. From the moment he joined the UFC, Pereira was linked to the champion, who he holds two kickboxing wins over – together with an April 2016 knockout.
Solely a featherweight title fight between champion Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway separates Adesanya and Pereira from wins that would align the subsequent UFC middleweight title battle.
Pereira isn’t positive if it was a coincidence they’re on the identical card, however he’s assured the UFC’s intention after July 2 can be to have him battle the principle occasion winner, who he factors out, could possibly be Cannonier.
“I feel Adesanya is the favourite, however every thing can occur in a battle,” Pereira mentioned. “If he makes a mistake he can get caught and be knocked out. I can’t see him shedding by choice, however I feel Cannonier has an actual likelihood of knocking him out or submitting him – extra seemingly knocking him out. However I imagine Adesanya is the favourite. In the long run, it doesn’t matter to me who wins that battle, My objective is the belt. So good battle for them. I’m very assured I’ll be the challenger of the winner subsequent.”
A method or one other, Pereira acknowledges the UFC’s religion in him. The promotion put him in a big-time slot towards a serious contender in Sean Strickland. He sees huge issues on the horizon.
“We see there’s an curiosity of getting me to battle to the title, particularly if Adesanya is the champion, as everybody has been speaking about it,” Pereira mentioned. “However to me, irrespective of who’s there, I wish to be the champion. However the UFC considering like that is (all good) with me.”