Alex Pereira: The Fighter that won two belts in both Kickboxing and MMA

Published on 4 April 2024 at 20:00

Alex 'Poatan' Pereira has been one of few fighters to accomplish such achievements and milestones in two different sports. The Brazilian has been a tough competitor in the Middleweight and Light Heavyweight divisions as he has took the world by storm in the biggest Kickboxing and MMA promotions. Here is how Pereira became such a warrior in GLORY Kickboxing and the UFC.

Becoming one of the most iconic kickboxers

Pereira first made an impact in the Kickboxing industry when he signed with the promotion, GLORY. The Sao Paulo-born fighter debuted in 2014, entering the Middleweight Contender Tournament at GLORY 14 in Zagreb. Poatan defeated current UFC fighter, Dustin Jacoby, by first-round knockout in the semi-final before defeating Sahak Parparyan by majority decision in the final.

Three years and seven months after the beginning of an incredible career, Pereira would earn a title shot for the GLORY Middleweight title against Simon Marcus in China. At GLORY 46, the Brazilian would earn his first title in the promotion as he defeated Marcus by unanimous decision.

Poatan would look to be unstoppable after his title triumph, successfully stopping Yousri Belgaroui twice at GLORY 49 by third-round TKO and GLORY 55 by first-round knockout. Pereira would also rematch Simon Marcus at Glory 58, defeating him once again by unanimous decision. The knockout artist would defend the Middleweight title once more with a first-round KO win over Jason Wilnis at GLORY 65.

Four months after his fourth successful title defence, Pereira moved up to the Light Heavyweight division to fight Donegi Abena for the interim belt at GLORY 68. Pereira would amaze the Combat Sport fans, becoming the first double champion in GLORY history, after defeating Abena by third-round knockout to win Interim Light Heavyweight Gold.

After defending his Middleweight title once more at Collision 2 and defeating Ertugrul Bayrak by first-round TKO, Pereira would not fight again until after the COVID-19 restrictions had eased off in 2021 as he was set to face Artem Vakhitov for the undisputed Light Heavyweight title at GLORY 77. In an incredibly close fight, Poatan would be victorious as he won by split decision and became the first fighter in GLORY to hold two belts at the same time.

In the same year, Pereira would fight Vakhitov in a rematch for the GLORY Light Heavyweight title in Rotterdam. This time he was not successful as he lost by majority decision at GLORY 78 and would fully commit to focusing on MMA.

On November 4, 2023, Alex Pereira would be inducted to the GLORY Hall of Fame after an illustrious career in the Kickboxing scene.

Taking over the UFC in just seven fights

Before signing with the UFC, Pereira did fight for MMA and Kickboxing promotion, Jungle Fight, before his triumphs in GLORY. Poatan first fought in the UFC at Madison Square Garden where he defeated Andreas Michailidis by second-round TKO after an extraordinary knockdown with a flying knee. 

The Sao Paulo mixed martial artist would continue his rich run of fights in the promotion with a bout four months after his victory at UFC 268. Pereira would defeat fellow Brazilian, Bruno Silva, by unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 50. The knockout maestro would have a chance to make himself a big name in the UFC when he was set to face #4 Middleweight contender, Sean Strickland, at UFC 276. In remarkable fashion, Pereira would defeat Strickland by first-round knockout and enter the UFC Middleweight rankings.

Brazil's finest fighter would earn a title shot against previous Kickboxing opponent, Israel Adesanya, at UFC 281 which would bring a lot of hype and anticipation leading up to the fight. Pereira had previously defeated The Last Stylebender by knockout in their last Kickboxing bout, and the result would not change in MSG as Poatan would earn a comeback win in the fifth-round by TKO. The former two-time GLORY Kickboxing Champion would become the new UFC King of the Middleweights towards the end of 2022, winning the title in just four fights with the promotion.

After defeating Adesanya for a third time in his fighting career, Pereira would once again fight the New Zealander at UFC 287 as a rematch would take place. Adesanya had never lost a Middleweight bout in MMA until UFC 281, but would get his revenge in Miami after knocking out Pereira in the second round to claim his belt back. 

Despite a horrific title loss, Pereira would move up a weight class and challenge himself in the Light Heavyweight division. Hands of Stone faced former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Jan Blachowicz, at UFC 291 as this fight would be set as a title eliminator to face Jiri Prochazka for the vacant championship after Jamahal Hill relinquished the belt due to injury. Pereira would prevail in a close call, winning by split decision.

UFC 295 eventually set Alex Pereira and Jiri Prochazka as the main event for the Light Heavyweight title as it was a fight which would be hard to predict. Prochazka previously won the title when he defeated Pereira's trainer, Glover Teixeira, by fifth-round submission at UFC 275. In a magnificent battle, Pereira would take the victory by third-round TKO, winning the Light Heavyweight Championship and becoming the ninth fighter in UFC history to have won a title in two divisions.

Alex Pereira is set to defend the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against Jamahal Hill at UFC 300 which could be recognised as one of the greatest events in the promotion. 

Is Alex Pereira the greatest Kickboxer to enter Mixed Martial Arts? Will Poatan be successful at UFC 300?


Featured Image: DevianArt - kungfufrogmma.


Written by Charlie Oxtoby


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Twitter: Charlie_Oxtoby1

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