UFC 291: 3 things we learned

UFC 291 in Salt Lake City was full of memorable moments.
Jul 29, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) reacts to defeating Dustin
Jul 29, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) reacts to defeating Dustin / Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Alex Pereira is still Israel Adesanya's boogeyman

When Israel Adesanya knocked Alex Pereira out cold in April, it was much more than a victory for him. He regained his middleweight title. He left his rival “frozen like Elsa," and outran the demons that haunted him from their three previous meetings.

It seemingly ended the story—David finally overcoming Goliath on the fourth try. Or so we thought.

Adesanya seems invincible among middleweights, with a new set of challengers waiting. On the other hand, Pereira moved up to light heavyweight but left his ghost looming around Adesanya from another division.

Pereira’s split-decision win over Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291 gave him another point against Adesanya. Poatan won his light heavyweight debut against the same fighter who halted Adesanya’s in 2021.

Accusations of thievery flooded the Twitter feeds upon the announcement of the result. However, it was a close fight that could have gone either way. Just ask the judges. A win is a win, and it looks like Pereira might be en route to light heavyweight contendership.

Adesanya holds grudges and takes things personally--Pereira and his son know this well. Do not be surprised if the question gets brought up to the middleweight king sometime soon. And you can count on him to act unaffected while his words caption the contrary with a sprinkle of anime references.

If the stars are in our favor, Pereira wins light heavyweight gold. Meanwhile, Adesanya would clear out Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis, then move up again to face his familiar foe and correct another mistake.

One can hope.