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Morning Report: Alex Pereira announces move to light heavyweight — but keeps an eye on Israel Adesanya’s ‘behavior’

MMA: APR 08 UFC 287
Alex Pereira
Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Alex Pereira is done at middleweight ... for now.

The recently dethroned UFC champion wasted no time letting the world know what his immediate future will look like, announcing his move up in weight via YouTube on Wednesday evening. From an outsider's perspective, it’s seemingly been a miracle each time that the massive 6-foot-4 Pereira has made the 185-pound mark in his nine-fight MMA career.

Pereira was undefeated under the UFC banner but lost a rematch to Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title this past Saturday at UFC 287 in Miami. “Poatan” said “I’ve done my part” at 185 pounds, and now feels “great” to move up, a change he called “something natural.” Despite weighing in as heavy as 232 pounds months out from past fight camps, Pereira doesn’t want the perception to be that he’s unable to still compete in the division he won a world title in.

“Many people questioned [my weight cut] but I always went there and fulfilled my obligation, but now is a great moment to move up a division,” Pereira said in his native Portuguese. “You see Adesanya’s post-fight provocations, he treats this win like it’s 3-1 for him and it’s not quite like that. I understand his joy — or try to understand it — it was his dream to win once against me and he’s done it, but let’s see what his behavior is now.”

Pereira added that he does not have a date nor an opponent for his return to light heavyweight.

Following a phenomenal kickboxing career that saw him compete at both 185 and 205 pounds, the 35-year-old Pereira committed fully to MMA in 2020. At 3-1, Pereira was signed to the UFC and made his promotional debut shortly after his coach and mentor Glover Teixeira captured the light heavyweight title. Those circumstances — and his history with Adesanya — provided him a good reason to stick with middleweight where he was already confident he could succeed.

The move up in weight would have been imminent down the line had Pereira retained his title against Adesanya this past weekend at UFC 287. Unfortunately for Pereira, his combat sports nemesis picked up his first victory in their four-fight series via a second-round knockout.

Adesanya has celebrated in every way possible thus far and been extremely vocal, expressing his happiness with becoming a two-time UFC middleweight champion and doing so by defeating Pereira. Now that the pair are 1-1 in the cage, an MMA rubber match felt like a real possibility, especially considering Adesanya has defeated most other top contenders. The former Glory Kickboxing titleholder guarantees that he could have run things back once more with “The Last Stylebender,” but ultimately feels light heavyweight is the next best step at the moment.

“I’m moving up a division now, and that’s my decision, but I’m sure that if I stayed in this division I can could fight him immediately. Let’s see how he behaves,” Pereira said. “I’m not going up because I can’t make the weight anymore. I can make the weight at any moment.

“He’s behaving like that because Dana White talked about my weight right after the fight and it looks like he thinks, ‘This guy will never make 185 again so I’ll provoke him and there’s nothing he can do’. I’m sure I could fight him immediately if I insisted on this, the organization and my managers would make this fight.”


Ultimatum. Julianna Peña: UFC forcing Amanda Nunes to fight me – or be stripped of title.

Rematch? Chris Curtis explains UFC 287 appeal, urges Kelvin Gastelum to “be a man, do it again.”

Beef. Dricus Du Plessis responds to Israel Adesanya: “Come and show me how you drag my carcass around.”

Crazy. Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz set to clash in boxing match on Aug. 5 in Dallas.

Buzz. “Nate’s fans are going to cry so hard when Jake beats him”: Pros react to Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz clash.

Advice. Sean O’Malley cautions Raul Rosas Jr. to focus on improvement after UFC 287 loss: “Take two years off.”

Hopeful. Robert Whittaker makes case for Israel Adesanya trilogy: “I’m never gonna stop hunting him.”

Acceptance. Jorge Masvidal gets real on decision to retire: “I’ve lost that step.”


The MMA Hour.

UFC Kansas City preview.

UFC 288 Trailer.

Bellator 295 preview.

Full fight.

PFL 2023 Week 3.

Weight loss.

Volk breakdown.


Reaction. MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew, Damon Martin, and Steven Marrocco discuss the Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz boxing match announced for August in Dallas.



Top 15.


Pop quiz!

Because why not?


10th island.

The audacity.

Works for me.


Chef Chito.


Can confirm.

Sisterly love.






Oh, boy.


Tatsuya Saika (9-3) vs. Ali Abdulkhalikov (11-2); RIZIN Landmark 5, April 29

Yudai Hamamoto (5-2) vs. Ramazan Temirov (15-2); RIZIN 42, May 6

Takahiro Ashida (26-12-2) vs. Kazumasa Majima (14-4); RIZIN 42, May 6

Braxton Smith (5-1) vs. Parker Porter (13-8); UFC 288, May 6

Daniel James (15-6-1) vs. Gokhan Saricam (8-2); Bellator 297, June 16

Roman Faraldo (8-1) vs. Bobby Nash (12-4); Bellator 297, June 16

Jaleel Willis (16-4) vs. Ramazan Kuramagomedov (10-0); Bellator 297, June 16

Archie Colgan (7-0) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (20-8); Bellator 297, June 16

Norbert Novenyi Jr. (6-0) vs. Kamil Oniszczuk (9-2); Bellator 297, June 16

Timur Khizriev (12-0) vs. Richie Smullen (10-2-1); Bellator 297, June 16

Brandon Moreno (21-6-2) vs. Alexandre Pantoja (25-5); UFC 290, July 8


It very obviously shouldn’t happen next, but Jiri Prochazka vs. Pereira is such a ridiculous matchup that I absolutely need.

Thanks for reading!



Who should welcome Pereira to light heavyweight?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Jiri Prochazka
    (148 votes)
  • 20%
    Jamahal Hill
    (177 votes)
  • 9%
    Magomed Ankalaev
    (79 votes)
  • 36%
    Jan Blachowicz
    (312 votes)
  • 15%
    Aleksandar Rakic
    (134 votes)
  • 1%
    (16 votes)
866 votes total Vote Now

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