Pereira retains UFC title, sets sights on heavyweight crown

via X

A spectacular knockout victory by Alex Pereira over Jiri Prochazka helped him retain his UFC light heavyweight belt in Las Vegas on Saturday, possibly paving the way for a shot at heavyweight gold and a third UFC title for the Brazilian.

Pereira landed a stunning head kick at the start of the second round and followed up with punches to knock out Prochazka, who was unsteady on his feet long after referee Herb Dean had stopped the fight.

"I was saying all week I was going to come out here and be victorious. I don't know what the next step is. I'm taking these opportunities. Everything that's coming my way is positive, so this is what I'm doing," Pereira said.

The decorated kick-boxer has had a meteoric rise since joining the UFC in September 2021, winning both the middleweight and light heavyweight titles, and his name has often been mentioned as a potential challenger at heavyweight.

"I think that's in my future," Pereira said. "I said that last time I was here. I said it a lot, but it didn't seem to be too much interest in the organisation. But I'm here, I'm available, and I do think that's in my future.

"I think the fans have a lot of say in this. If this is what they want, I think this is going to be inevitable."

UFC president Dana White said he was aware of the growing calls to throw Pereira into the mix in the heavier weight class.

"I know that's what people want to see, we'll see how this whole thing plays out," White told reporters, conscious of the log-jam at the top of the division.

Regarded by many as the greatest UFC fighter of all time, Jon Jones currently holds the heavyweight strap, but he has not fought since March 2023.

A proposed fight between Jones and former champ Stipe Miocic had to be cancelled when Jones suffered an injury, leading to England's Tom Aspinall securing the interim heavyweight title in November 2023 with a win over Sergei Pavlovich.

More from Sports