The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to us tonight, July 29, 2023, for UFC 291, going down live from the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Headlining the event is a lightweight rematch over five years in the making as former interim champions Dustin Poirier (29-7) and Justin Gaethje (24-4) finally go at it again following their Fight of the Year effort back in 2018.
Co-headlining the event is a 205 lb clash showcasing former UFC light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (29-10-1) and former UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira (8-2).
Following his KSW light-heavyweight title reign that saw him secure two title defenses upon arriving to the UFC, Blachowicz would go 2-4 through his first six bouts with the promotion. However, since then he’d gone 10-2-1, seeing him capture and defend the UFC light-heavyweight championship prior to losing it in late 2021.
Pereira on the other hand went 3-0 through his first three UFC bouts en route to his title shot against Israel Adesanya, who he TKO’d in round five to become the middleweight champion. An immediate rematch would ensue, seeing him lose via KO in round two.
Tonight the Brazilian assassin moved up to 205 lbs to take on the no. 3 ranked former champion.
Continue reading to see how this light-heavyweight affair went down:
Official Result: Alex Pereira def. Jan Blachowicz via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Blachowicz ties up with Pereira immediately once the bout begins, searching for the takedown throughout the first half of the opening round. Pereira defends well with a guillotine choke attempt and a right underhook, but is ultimately taken down.
Blachowicz climbs onto Pereira’s back, sinking in the body triangle choke and searching for a rear naked choke or neck crank for the remainder of the round.
Pereira begins to pick Blachowicz’ lead leg apart with quick, precise leg kicks through the first two minutes of the second but is again taken down, this time the former light-heavyweight settling in his guard.
Pereira is back to his feet one minute later however and gets back to his striking. He’s quite effective with it too as Blachowicz is fatiguing badly. It comes down to the final five minutes; Blachowicz clearly won the first, and Pereira clearly won the second.
Pereira continues to batter Blachowicz’ leg and out-strike him in the third and final round, though he’s taken down with 40 seconds left in the bout, ending it on his back.
Alex Pereira defeats Jan Blachowicz via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Poatan is next for the UFC Light Heavyweight title 🔥#UFC291
— Combat Sports Today 📰 (@CSTodayNews) July 30, 2023
Alex Pereira is successful in his light-heavyweight debut tonight at UFC 291, where he not only defeats a former champion of the division his adversary Israel Adesanya couldn’t, but also the current no. 3 ranked light-heavyweight contender in the world.
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon Versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I ever saw, and I was immediately hooked. So eventually, I began covering the sport in the fourth quarter of 2018, and have since started writing about animals as well. If you’d like to see those pieces, be sure to check out learnaboutnature.com!