Almost every combat sports fan knows who Alex “Poatan” Pereira is. From starting out in kickboxing, Pereira captured the Glory light heavyweight and middleweight championship at separate times. He did go on to defend his middleweight title five times, and boosted his overall record to 33-7.
Pereira was competing in MMA and kickboxing for the last two years. It wasn’t until last September when he fought his last kickboxing fight and then switched over full-time to MMA to quickly sign with the UFC. He debuted in the UFC last November. Not even in one calendar year, Poatan has strung together a 3-0 UFC run with two performance of the night bonuses.
Last July he knocked out Sean Strickland, who was #4 in the UFC’s middleweight rankings. Now, Pereira is ranked #5 and is set to fight the Champ Israel Adesanya who he beat twice in kickboxing…
In the middleweight division, all the attention is on Alex Pereira, and some forget his record in MMA isn’t flawless. In fact, it’s 6-1 with one career loss. That loss came back in 2015 from the hands of Sao Paulo native Quemuel Ottoni.
Pereira vs. Ottoni
The fight was nearly seven years ago between Pereira and Ottoni. At the time, Pereira was making his MMA debut and was coming off winning the WGP middleweight title. Ottoni was just 3-0 when he fought Pereira, with not as much MMA experience either.
In the first round, it basically took part on the mat surprisingly. Pereira sprawled on a takedown and made the mistake of trying to jump on the back. He slipped off and Ottoni took his back. Pereira did a good job of turning in towards Ottoni, and then taking his back. He went for an armbar that looked tight, but Ottoni escaped and ended the round on Pereira’s back.
Round two was back and forth too, but that time on the feet. Pereira found his range early in the round and was really putting it on Ottoni. He was landing big shots, but Ottoni was able to survive. Pereira gassed himself out though, and Ottoni turned it around… He had Pereira curled up against the cage on a few occasions landing punches in bunches. Ottoni ended the round on top off a double leg takedown.
In the final round, Pereira opened up with a one-two. That forced Ottoni to get another double-leg takedown. He sliced right into the mount with no real issue. Pereira gave up his back and was caught tapping from the RNC.
Life After “Poatan”
After beating Pereira, for the next three years he went 3-3, going win-loss-win-loss-win-loss. After that last defeat in September of 2019, he took a layoff. Qttoni ended up taking a hiatus from MMA for almost two years. When he returned, that’s when he hit his stride. He’s won five in a row with four finishing inside the distance.
Back in the day, I wouldn’t rate Ottoni highly at all. He’s always had good jiu-jitsu, but that was all. His striking was lackluster, he was slow, had no movement, and was easily hit. Watching him today, he’s a much-improved fighter. Now, his stand-up, in general, is night and day better. His footwork is a lot lighter, especially early on in the fight. Ottoni now slips punches very well, and not just trying to roll with his shoulder.
Even though his hands come from his waist, he has strung together his punches well. He’s developed more of a jab, and altogether is a better striker. On top of that, his entries into his takedowns have improved and he isn’t someone you don’t want on top of you.
To top off such a career resurgence in his last fight, he won the Jungle Fight welterweight title. A title that’s eluded him in the past, one that’s a big deal in Brazil. Since coming down from middleweight, he’s looked lighter and it has shown in every aspect.
I don’t see him as a top fifteen fighter, or maybe not a top twenty-five. However, he is due for a run in the UFC. At the age of 29, Qttoni is in his prime…