Alex Pereira: A Trail Blazer in Kickboxing

Alex Pereira: A Trail Blazer in Kickboxing

July 29, 2023|

Every fighter, whether professional or amateur knows how difficult and challenging it is to become a champion. When a fighter wins a title, they often talk afterwards about their road to achieving that lifelong goal, and explain the challenges they had to overcome to get there. It is even more rare to become a multi-sport champion and to hold titles across multiple disciplines of MMA. Alex Pereira is one of the most credentialed combat sports athletes today. He has dominated the kickboxing world, and has done the same in mixed martial arts.

The casual fan will know Alex Pereira for his storied rival with the current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. The two fights are tied one apiece, with each fighter holding a knockout win over the other. What people may not realize is that this rivarly spans over the course of several years, in multiple different sports. Alex and Israel competed under the same kickboxing promotion Glory and both have had their own successes. Lots of people understand Adesanya's background as a kickboxer, but not many know how dominant Alex Pereira's run was as a former two division champion. Let's dive into some of Poatan's accomplishments in kickboxing.

To start, Alex Pereira is the former Glory middleweight and light heavyweight champion. He has beaten several current UFC fighters under glory, like Israel Adesanya and Dustin Jacoby. His record as a kickboxer is 33-7, with 21 wins by knockout.

Claiming the Glory Middleweight Title

Alex won the Glory Middleweight title in 2017 after defeating Simon Marcus by decision at Glory 46. He then went on to defend his title five times against Yousri Belagarousi twice, Simon Marcus again, Jason Wilnis, and Ertugrul Bayrak. Through that reign, four of Pereira's five Glory title defenses were won by knockout. Pereira held the Glory middleweight title until he decided to move up to light heavyweight where he would fight for the interim title, and win.


Defeating Kickboxing Legend Artem Vakhitov

In his final two fights as a professional kickboxer, Alex Pereira fought a kickboxing legend in Artem Vakhitov twice, winning one and losing one. Artem is a very credentialed kickboxer from Russia who's amassed a 22-6 career record. Vakhitov is one of the greatest kickboxers to ever compete under the Glory banner, and in 2021, Pereira defeated Artem to win the Glory Light Heavyweight title by a split decision.

Alex Pereira knees Artem Valikhov in their Glory match. Credits to: Glory MMA.
Alex Pereira knees Artem Valikhov in their Glory match. Credits to: Glory MMA.

Becoming a Two Division Champion

Pereira moved up to light heavyweight to win the interim light heavyweight title against Donegi Abana by third round knockout. This title victory made history, as Pereira became the first fighter under the Glory banner to hold two titles simultaneously. Pereira won the unified light heavywight title after defeating Artem Vakhitov, but later lost a rematch by a decision after a point was deducted for "repeated clinch attempts."


Wins over Israel Adesanya

Perhaps Pereira's most recgonizeable accomplishments in the world of kickboxing were his two wins over Israel Adesanya, the catalyst for their rivarly in the UFC. Their first fight took place in 2016 under the Glory of Heroes promotion, where Pereira won a unanimous decision against Adesanya. Israel has been adamant that he won that fight as of recent, but the second of their two kickboxing meetings had no controversey at all. In 2017, one year later, Pereira landed a flush left hook that sent Adesanya onto the canvas at Glory of Heroes 7 in Brazil, and left him unconscious. That clip has been played numerous times, as we saw Adesanya blossom into the mixed martial arts champion he is today. This clip is the single reason we have this storied rivarly between these two fighters, and a big reason why we saw Alex move into the sport of MMA and even win a third fight against Adesanya and becoming a Glory and UFC champion.

Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya faceoff prior to their fightat UFC 281. Credits to: Jeff Bottari - Zuffa LLC
Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya faceoff prior to their fightat UFC 281. Credits to: Jeff Bottari - Zuffa LLC

Alex Pereira is a two divsion Glory kickboxing champion, and the former UFC middleweight champion. This weekend, he embarks on a new chapter in his career, a fight in the light heavyweight division. A win over Jan Blachowicz could mean a title shot against either Jiri Prochazka, Jamahal Hill, Magomed Ankalaev, or even Adesanya again for a third MMA fight. If Pereira is able to win another UFC title in a new division, not many can lay claim to winning multiple titles across multiple sports like he could.

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