Alex Pereira has evolved.
The new Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight kingpin earned his biggest career win yet, defeating Israel Adesanya for the third time in combat sports at UFC 281 this past weekend (Nov. 12, 2022). Despite Pereira finishing the fight with his powerful punches in round five (watch highlights), the overall effort in the 20-plus minute affair was enough to see him promoted in his jiu-jitsu ranking by his team last night (Tues., Nov. 15, 2022).
“You guys don’t know, Alex once competed in jiu-jitsu back in the day,” Pereira’s coach, Plinio Cruz, said via an Instagram video embedded above. “He was being trained to submit every fight. As you guys know, he’s an MMA fighter, now the best fighter on the planet, beating one of the best fighters of all time. But, you guys know Alex’s been following jiu-jitsu, too. He’s showing improvement, he’s showing respect, he’s showing he’s hungry to learn because it’s mixed martial arts, not only kickboxing.
“So, with that said, if you guys saw that fight Saturday … takedowns, sweeps, leg locks, almost like a real jiu-jitsu guy,” he continued. “But the main part of jiu-jitsu is not about submitting. It’s not about winning. It’s about surviving. And under the most hard circumstance, he used jiu-jitsu to survive. He survived and in the end, he stood on his feet and knocked the guy out. That takes a very high-level guy in the head, in the heart, in the technique. Because of that, I believe and our coaches believe that we want to reward him with a brown belt.”
While Adesanya isn’t the most dangerous of grapplers Pereira could be tasked with at 185 pounds, he tested Pereira nonetheless during their encounter. It ultimately wouldn’t be enough, however, and Adesanya hopes to get another bout with “Poatan” for each’s next time out.
For complete UFC 281: “Adesanya Vs. Pereira” results and play-by-play, click HERE.