Alex Pereira moves to light heavyweight: 3 matches to make for 205 debut

UFC 287: Pereira v Adesanya 2
UFC 287: Pereira v Adesanya 2 / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Who is next for Alex Pereira after his move up to light heavyweight?

Following his KO loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 287, many speculated a move to light heavyweight could be in Alex Pereira's future.

Pereira recently confirmed these suspicions in an announcement video shared to Twitter and YouTube.

With Pereira now affirming claims of the move, there are a few matchups that would make sense for 'Poatan' at light heavyweight.

3 fighters who could welcome Alex Pereira to the 205-pound division

Jamahal Hill vs. Alex Pereira

Starting at the top, light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill expressed interest in a Pereira fight with an Instagram post on Thursday. The interest is seemingly mutual, as Pereira responded via an Instagram post of his own, where he declared, "I am ready and will kick your door in."

Pereira could seek to avenge the loss of his training partner turned coach, Glover Teixeira, who was defeated by Hill for the vacant belt back in January. Teixeira has since retired, but his presence has been a staple in the corner of Pereira's UFC bouts. The close relationship between the two Brazilians acts as added intrigue to Pereira making his light heavyweight debut against Hill.

While Pereira is a former UFC champion, he never defended his belt and has just five UFC bouts. Thus, it might be farfetched for Pereira to receive an immediate title shot in his new division.

Jan Blachowicz vs. Alex Pereira

Perhaps a more feasible first fight at light heavyweight would be against third-ranked contender Jan Blachowicz. His most recent appearance was in a split decision draw versus Magomed Akalaev for the vacant belt in December 2022.

Blachowicz is one of, if not the most recognizable name in the division, meaning Pereira would gain instant credibility if he were to defeat him. Furthermore, Blachowicz being responsible for Adesanya's first MMA loss is another fun storyline that would arise from this matchup.

Magomed Akalaev vs. Alex Pereira

If neither Hill nor Blachowicz works out, Ankalaev could be a very interesting matchup for Pereira. Ankalaev has suffered just one defeat in his MMA career, which came in his 2018 UFC debut against Paul Craig. Since then, he has complied a 9-0-1 record with wins over three fighters currently ranked in the top ten.

While Ankalaev boasts a background in Greco-Roman Wrestling and sambo, his striking is crisp and powerful, evidenced by his 10 KOs in 20 bouts. The well-rounded game of Ankalaev would give Pereira a handful to deal with.

Regardless of who welcomes Pereira to the light heavyweight division, the weight class is more intriguing than it was before his move up.

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