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Alex Pereira Light Heavyweight

(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Alex Pereira Film Study

Alex Pereira
(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Alex Pereira Film Study

In anticipation of UFC 281, it was only right to watch some film on Alex Pereira to gain of better understanding of his game. Pereira is an elite kickboxer that has a lot of great tools so there is a lot to discuss. The video is linked below, give it a watch. I’ll give you the summary below if you want a quick summary. If you are curious as to why I am covering the challenger and not the champion, Israel Adesanya, it is because I did a film study on him before UFC 276. Go give that a watch too.

Alex Pereira Film Study

Strength Number One: Ability to Make Reads

The first thing that stood out to me is that Pereira is tremendous at making reads. He does a great job at reading his opponent and noticing trends in their action. Once he makes a read, he is able to react with perfectly timed power shots that put his opponents to sleep.

Strength Number Two: Circular Movement

Pereira has tremendous circular movement. Usually, when he circles he is circling to his left. To be clear, Pereira does not solely rely on circling to the left. I just find him to be particularly effective when he circles to the left. This is because it helps him keep his back off the fence. Plus, he pulls opponents into power strikes. This helps him land attacks from his left side. Traditionally, he does this with left kicks, but it does apply to his left hooks as well.

Weakness Number One: Takedown Defense

The first weakness I noticed in Pereira’s skill set was his takedown defense. I do not expect him to be elite in that skill. He is still a kickboxer that just transitioned to MMA. The issue I have is that it seems like he relies on physical strength to defend takedowns and not technique. Plus, it looks like he opts for guillotine attempts rather than actually trying to defend a takedown. That would be less of an issue if he got close to finishing the submission, but he doesn’t. I imagine he will improve in this skill as his career progress so this is something to monitor.

Weakness Number Two: Lazy Leg Kicks

Do not get it twisted, Pereira throws great leg kicks. He throws land with power and they play a serious role in each of his fights. The problem here is that he will occasionally throw a leg kick at half-speed. When he does that it gives his opponent a chance to land counterstrikes. This is not a constant mistake that I see, but I saw it enough to add it to the film study.

Pereira’s Keys to Success

The keys to Pereira’s success are simple. He needs to strike. That is obviously not breaking news. When he is able to stay on his feet he can make reads and land massive strikes. Pereira can throw just about any strike he likes and it is effective. This includes jabs, straights, left hooks, counter hooks, and a variety of kicks. Other small details that stand out to me are his ability to roll his shoulder to avoid strikes, he wins in hand-fighting scenarios when striking, he strikes around high guards, and he throws big knees from the clinch. All of these are things he should continue to do.

How to Beat Pereira

While beating Pereira in the striking realm is not easy, I found a few potential strategies that could help. Since Pereira is so good at avoiding strikes with head and shoulder movement, attacking the body can be helpful. When Pereira gets fatigued he is less effective with that upper-body movement. Thus, attacking the body makes it easier to land and it can make it easier to land to the head later in the fight.

As I mentioned earlier, Pereira has great circular movement. This can be countered by throwing in the direction he circles. Pereira also pulls his opponents into shots so to employ this strategy you have to throw those strikes first.

In terms of grappling, Pereira is able to find defensive success if he is far stronger than his opponent. With this in mind, it can be smart to grapple him if you are as strong as him or if you are an elite-level grappler. Otherwise, it may be a waste of energy.


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