Rankings Shakeup: Alex Pereira debuts in light heavyweight top 5, is title shot next?

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Alex Pereira is one step closer to two-division dominance. Again.

In his past life as a a Glory Kickboxing star, Pereira won titles at middleweight and light heavyweight, something he’s halfway to doing in the UFC after beating rival Israel Adesanya for the 185-pound belt at UFC 281. Pereira dropped that title back to Adesanya in a rematch, then immediately pivoted to 205 where he made a successful debut this past Saturday at UFC 291 with a split decision win over Jan Blachowicz.

It wasn’t a dominant victory, but Pereira earning the nod against a former champion has catapulted him into the top 5 of the MMA Fighting Global Rankings

No one has had an MMA career quite like Pereira. His past kickboxing success gave him some cachet, but it was his two wins in the ring over a Adesanya (including a spectacular knockout in their second fight) that made it easy for the UFC matchmakers to chart a path for Pereira to enter title contention and he capitalized beautifully.

Now, he is poised to fight for UFC gold again with the promotion’s light heavyweight title once again being vacated due to injury. First, it was Jiri Prochazka relinquishing the title due to a shoulder injury, then Jamahal Hill recently followed suit after suffering a ruptured Achilles. The next fight for the light heavyweight belt will be the third straight where neither competitor enters as champion.

Is Pereira a lock to be one half of the vacant title fight? He’d never previously competed at 205 pounds in MMA and Saturday marked just his 10th pro bout. On the other hand, outside of Magomed Ankalaev or Prochazka, there’s really no one else in the UFC’s rankings that is conceivably standing in his way. The logical thing to do is match Pereira up with either of them.

Even if Pereira still has plans to go back down to middleweight to finish his business with Adesanya, there’s no reason he shouldn’t get a shot at “champ-champ” status first.

Agree? Disagree? Vote in the poll and leave a comment below.

Poll

Did Alex Pereira do enough to be part of the vacant UFC light heavyweight title fight?

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