Darren Till was impressed with Alex Pereira’s power display in stopping Israel Adesanya to win the middleweight title at UFC 281 and believes Pereira’s knockout prowess is comparable to another great historic KO artist.
Following Pereira’s title win at UFC 281, Till spoke with Michael Bisping about what he saw in the fight to crown a champion in his division, and what Pereira may lack in speed in Till’s opinion, he makes up for it with his ability to stop opponents in their tracks.
In Till’s eyes, Pereira’s finishing power reminds him of the late Anthony Johnson, who passed away at the age of 38 on Sunday.
“I think Pereira is a big, strong, massive, slow middleweight,” Till said on Believe You Me. “He’s slow, his strikes aren’t devastatingly fast, but my God, does that man carry power. I think I’m two times, three times faster than him — Adesanya as well — but he just needs to land.
“It’s like, rest in peace, I don’t even want to say his name because it’s a very sad [time], but Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, I want to give my condolences, but I’m actually going to give the example of him because he is the best example of it: That man only had to touch a little finger on your head and you’d be knocked out. I think Pereira has that type of thing.”
While getting there may take some time, as impressive as Pereira’s run has been, Till thinks the new champion may struggle with high-level wrestlers such as teammate Khamzat Chimaev, and past opponent Robert Whittaker.
“He’s young in the sport, but I saw Khamzat call him out and I was like, ‘Khamzat would definitely take him down within 30 seconds,’ yeah, it’s a fight, but that’s not a fight Pereira is ready for,” Till said.
“And Whittaker doesn’t just wrestle, he uses his strikes in his wrestling. He did that to me in the fifth round. We went four rounds of just making each other twitch, and then in the fifth round he used strikes into a takedown to get me. At that time, I couldn’t be taken down. I think he’d still have some trouble with Pereira because Pereira is quite strong.”
When it comes to Adesanya’s performance, Till thought the now former champion looked as good as he always has — at least, up until the point when the fight was stopped.
“With Izzy, he just played the game again,” Till explained. “He looked good, he looked sharp, and he really knows who he is as a person and as a fighter, he’s not trying to be something he’s not — apart from his f****** stupid quotes, he’s cringey with the quotes.”