Alex Pereira relishes the opportunity to bring the light heavyweight title back to his mentor.
Pereira (8-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) faces Jiri Prochazka (29-3-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) for the vacant 205-pound title in Saturday’s UFC 295 headliner at Madison Square Garden in New York. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+.
Prochazka submitted Glover Teixeira in an all-out war at UFC 275 to become champion, but later vacated his belt after he suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery. With Prochazka’s most recent win coming over Teixeira, Pereira has an opportunity to avenge that loss for him. But it’s not an emotional quest for “Poatan.”
“I’m not going into this fight with mixed emotions about vengeance,” Pereira told CBS Sports’ Shakiel Mahjouri through an interpreter. “I don’t want to play that game. I want to go with a very positive mindset. I’m going to fight with the mindset that they haven’t even fought before. But looking into the other side of being able to bring Glover his belt back and put it back in the gym, that means a lot to me.”
Former UFC middleweight champion Pereira was successful in his light heavyweight debut when he edged out ex-champ Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291 in July. He takes on a far more experienced Prochazka, but that’s something he’s already accustomed to.
“The thing that makes him dangerous is all the experience he has,” Pereira said. “He’s a seasoned fighter. He’s dangerous, but that helps to keep me aware and not overlook the guy. I’m actually preparing to go over there and get it done. He’s a seasoned and experienced guy. That plays a part in it.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 295.