UFC 291: Alex Pereira gets split-decision nod over Jan Blachowicz in light heavyweight debut (Video)

Alex Pereira feels ready for a light heavyweight title shot with win over Jan Blachowicz in UFC 291 co-main event.
Alex Pereira
Alex Pereira / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

It was a close battle, but Alex Pereira's mission to capture the UFC light heavyweight championship, which would be his second in the UFC, is off to a good start.

Pereira defeated Blachowicz in the co-main event of UFC 291.

Blachowicz didn't let Pereira unleash his striking, as he immediately pressed Pereira against the cage, where they struggled for about 90 seconds before Blachowicz scored the takedown.

UFC 291: Alex Pereira makes case for light heavyweight title shot with win over Jan Blachowicz

Blachowicz got to Pereira's back as Pereira struggled to fight back and stand up. Pereira was able to avoid a couple of submission attempts, but Blachowicz's grappling was overwhelming.

The two traded leg kicks to start the second round, but Blachowicz found his way into pinning Pereira again. Pereira, however, was able to get out of Blachowicz's grasp with less than 90 seconds left in the second round and looked to land on an exhausted Blachowicz, who had a noticeable welt on his leg from Pereira's kicks.

Pereira worked Blachowicz's body and worked combinations, but the horn sounded before Pereira could get a flurry off.

The two had a striking battle throughout the third round, with both men getting their fair share of inside shots in, but Pereira seemingly landing the better strikes. Blachowicz, however, scored a takedown with about 40 seconds left — but he didn't work much with it.

Pereira scored the split decision with two judges scoring the fight for him 29-28.

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