The co-main event of UFC 291 will see two former champions collide as former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz welcomes former middleweight champion Alex Pereira to the 205-pound division in a bout that has major ramifications for the light heavyweight title picture.
Blachowicz is looking to make a statement to put himself back in position to challenge for the light heavyweight title he held back in 2021. The Pole’s last two fights saw him finish Aleksandr Rakic via injury TKO, then fight to a split draw with Russian contender Magomed Ankalaev. That bout with Ankalaev was set to crown a number-one contender, but the indefinite nature of the final result meant that, despite going through all 25 minutes, Blachowicz’s position in the division remains static.
That could all change this weekend in Salt Lake City when he takes on ex-middleweight champion Pereira, who has title ambitions of his own.
Former Glory kickboxing world champion Alex Pereira exploded into the UFC and, after claiming a hat-trick of wins in the space of eight months, was given a shot at his old kickboxing rival Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title. Pereira initially struggled with Adesanya’s all-round MMA game, but eventually made the breakthrough in the final round to stop Adesanya and capture the 185-pound crown.
Most recently, though, Pereira was knocked out by Adesanya in the rematch at UFC 287 as he lost his title in his very first defense. Now, with former light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira in his corner, Pereira has moved up to light heavyweight, and faces a huge test as he takes on ex-205-pound champ Blachowicz. Victory would almost certainly propel “Poatan” into a light heavyweight title shot.
Ahead of the bout, the UFC’s Countdown cameras caught up with both fighters, and their teams, as they made their final preparations for their pivotal matchup. Check it out via the video player below.