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Three Potential Light Heavyweight Opponents For Alex Pereira

Alex Pereira Light Heavyweight
Former UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira is moving up to the light heavyweight. Here are three potential opponents for his debut. (Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports)

Three Potential Light Heavyweight Opponents For Alex Pereira

Alex Pereira has announced that he is moving to light heavyweight. “Poatan” will be a welcome addition to the division and will provide some great matchups in the division. Let’s take a look at a few potential opponents for Pereira’s divisional debut.

Jamahal Hill

I am very bullish on the idea that Pereira can enter the light heavyweight division and challenge for the title immediately. Pereira’s skills on the feet will immediately make him a top contender in the division. If given that opportunity, Jamahal Hill is the man he would fight.

This fight is plausible as Hill is currently looking for a fighter to defend his belt against. Yes, a title defense against former champion Jiri Prochazka makes sense. Considering the fact that Prochazka lost the belt due to a shoulder injury, he should fight for the title when he returns. That does not mean Hill cannot fight Pereira which would set Prochazka up to fight the winner. That would give Prochazka more time to recover from his injury as well.

The UFC will likely consider this fight due to the history between Hill and Pereira. After Hill defeated Glover Teixeira to win the title at UFC 282, Pereira and Hill had a staredown that ignited rumors the pair would fight. Since Pereira announced that he was moving up a division, the pair added fuel to their rivalry with a social media interaction. If this rivalry continues to heat up, the UFC may not be able to prevent booking this fight.

Jiri Prochazka

It would be hard for the UFC to book Pereira against Prochazka right now. As previously mentioned, Prochazka will be fighting for the title. That does not mean this fight is impossible though. If Pereira sits on the sideline and waits for Prochazka to challenge for the belt, that opens the opportunity for the UFC to book this fight.

This fight will always be one that has fan interest. Simply put, there are not many fights at light heavyweight that are more compelling than this one. The always exciting style of Prochazka would clash with Pereira’s terrific striking to promise an instant classic. That is something that the UFC can not shy away from.

In all honesty, this fight is not as likely for Pereira’s light heavyweight debut. I feel more than comfortable including it in this list though because it could happen and is the most interesting fight possible.

Magomed Ankalaev

Once Hill and Prochazka are discussed it gets much more difficult to name a third opponent for Pereira. That said, it is possible that this is a feasible outcome. If the UFC decides to book Hill against Prochazka and Pereira declines to wait for a title shot, he will need an opponent. That leaves Magomed Ankalaev and Jan Blachowicz as the top options.

Ankaleav and Blachowicz are grouped together- for the moment- because they fought to a draw. That makes it hard to separate the two. Although, I think Ankalaev would be the UFC’s preferred opponent for Pereria.

The main reason behind this is age. If we are being honest, Pereira is 38 and may not have a lot of career left in front of him. If the UFC wants to use Pereira to promote a young light heavyweight, Anakalaev is the better option since he is 30 while Blachowicz is 40. Plus, Ankalaev’s grappling pedigree makes him a tougher stylistic matchup. Blachowicz is also teasing a move to middleweight which helps Ankalaev’s case.

Despite the clear possibility of this fight, it likely will not be an appealing option to fans. For the most part, Pereira will struggle against grapplers. With that in mind, a fight with Ankalaev is probably the toughest possible light-heavyweight matchup for Pereira.

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