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PFL hopeful Quemuel Ottoni wants to be more than man who beat Alex Pereira

Quemuel Ottoni beat Alex Pereira in 2015.
Leonardo Fabri, Jungle Fight

The man that handed Alex Pereira his lone MMA loss accepts the glory that comes from it, but he also wants to detach himself a little bit.

Quemuel Ottoni was 3-0 in MMA when he submitted Alex Pereira in 2015. The future UFC middleweight champion already had won a kickboxing belt in Brazil, and he had competed a few times under the GLORY banner. But at the long-running regional promotion Jungle Fight, he was a MMA debutant.

Ottoni, who next faces Jozef Wittner at the PFL Challenger Series 9 on Jan. 27, feels he’s much more than that.

“[Beating him] is not the main feat in my career, but one of them,” Ottoni said on this week’s episode of Trocação Franca. “People will obviously talk about that one, because he’s [UFC] champion, but Quemuel has so much more to offer. I want to build my name outside of that. It’s one of my feats, can’t deny that, I’ve earned it, but I don’t want to keep banging on that like, ‘Oh, he’s the one that beat ‘Poatan.’ No, it’s Quemuel Ottoni, that’s the name people have to remember.”

What could be bigger than choking a man that went on to become two-division champion in GLORY and is 3-0 against Israel Adesanya across two sports? For Ottoni, beating Arsen Tengizov in his first trip overseas, “feeling like a kid in Disneyland” in Chechnya, was a bigger feat.

“I have plenty of fights, I’ve fought overseas, I’ve fought in Chechnya, where only the crazies go,” Ottoni said with a laugh. “I’ve co-headlined a card there and knocked out a Russian, so I already have that experience of competing abroad. This attention comes from the ‘Poatan’ fight because he’s champion of the UFC, but my work has been done way before. It’s good because I’ve earned that when I fought him and won, nobody handed me anything, and I’m glad it has gone viral and given me recognition, but I’m going to put on more shows.”

For those who criticize Ottoni for using a 2015 win to boost his popularity, he argues he has gone quiet about it for years. Still, he said, Pereira has done the same with his kickboxing victories over then-UFC champion Adesanya.

“The fight is on YouTube, and it was a war,” he said. “He was knocking out everybody with that left hand. I’m happy with that fight, but I’m not attached to it because I have a lot more to show, you know? I didn’t give my all in that fight, but I’m glad it went viral.”

As he hopes to join the 2023 roster in PFL and seek the million-dollar payday after claiming the Jungle Fight welterweight title, the Brazilian fighter believes Pereira can go on to defend his 185-pound throne even though he sees plenty of challenges for him.

“[Adesanya] has game to beat him,” Ottoni said. “You have to be smart, not be a boxing or kickboxing fighter. I see everybody in the top-10 of the division having a chance [against Pereira]. Just take away your ego, because sometimes people are too dumb. ‘I wanna trade, I wanna show [I can do it].’ Ego is nothing, winning is what matters. Adesanya has game to beat him, but Alex is 3-0 already so it depends on his mental.”

Ottoni names jiu-jitsu expert Andre Muniz a tricky match-up for Pereira, as well as Khamzat Chimaev, Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori. But he also thinks “Poatan” can have a long reign as UFC champion if he sticks by Glover Teixeira as teammate and mentor.

“It depends on what he’s working on with Glover,” he said. “Glover will be the key. Anything can happen in MMA, but I think it’s hard for him to break Anderson Silva’s record [of title defenses]. We hope he can hold that belt for as long as possible because it’s good for Brazil, they look at us with more respect. I won’t say he can’t do it, but I think it depends on Glover’s guideness. Glover is very smart, and I think he can keep that belt longer if he sticks to that.”

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