Michel Pereira may be on a losing skid, but that doesn’t mean he’s planning on taming his wild and entertaining style.
Pereira (23-11-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) will look to snap his two-fight skid when he takes on Zelim Imadaev (8-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) at the UFC’s Sept. 5 event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
After a thrilling UFC debut against Danny Roberts, Pereira was upset by Tristan Connelly in September 2019 in a fight for which he missed weight and started to slow down in the second round. He received heavy criticism for exerting too much energy with his acrobatics.
That was followed by a disqualification loss to Diego Sanchez in February in a fight Pereira was in control of before striking Sanchez with an illegal knee that rendered him unable to continue.
But despite his recent octagon woes, Pereira chalks it off to unfortunate circumstances that hampered his performance and led to the losses.
“For my second bout, I had a very bad weight cut,” Pereira told MMA Junkie. “I traveled alone (to Canada). I spent the whole week alone, cutting weight. My cornermen didn’t show up. I only had help starting on Thursday night. It was hard to cut weight. I was afraid to get ill by myself in the sauna. The cut was bad and I didn’t have a way to recover fully. During the actual fight, I could feel my body demanding energy, which I didn’t have. I was really looking forward to fighting, but I didn’t know I’d be so drained.
“Diego Sanchez was sneaky. He took advantage of the knee that I landed illegally. He used the rules to his advantage. He was (a) chicken and refused to return to the fight. He could have returned. I guess either he was afraid, or he realized he had no way to win the fight if he continued. He was chicken and gave up, so I got disqualified. I landed that knee believing it was allowed, based on his stance. I thought he needed to have a hand on the mat for it to be considered illegal. And the knee that cut his forehead was a previous one, not the one that was deemed illegal.”
Pereira takes on Imadaev, who despite going 0-2 to start off his UFC tenure has engaged in two gritty back-and-forth battles.
So with that kind of dancing partner, Pereira is expecting to shine.
“I didn’t study him that much,” Pereira said. “I know he’s a striker. I train to face any type of opponent. I’ve been getting ready since around April. My weight is great. My training sessions have been great too. I’m well trained. I’m focused. Without a doubt, this will be another show – same as always. Everything is in place for us to have the ‘Fight of the Night.’ We’re both tough, skilled fighters. All fans will get to see Michel ‘the showman’ Pereira.
“I’m in the welterweight division to be the champ. Everyone knows I have all the tools needed to achieve that. I’m tough. I have the stamina. I put on shows. I have all I need. It’s the result of my hard work.”