July 19, 2024

Alex Pereira fires back at last man to beat him in kickboxing Artem Vakhitov: ‘Brother, be careful’

Alex Pereira and Artem Vakhitov split their two-fight series in GLORY title fights at one apiece before the Brazilian departed kickboxing to focus full-time on MMA.

Now “Poatan” seems surprised to see Vakhitov’s recent comments.

In a recent interview, Vakhitov told MMA Fighting that Pereira “is a superstar and I am happy for him,” but also said he’s absolutely down to meet Pereira again, this time under MMA rules now that Vakhitov is focused on building his own MMA career. Vakhitov added that he believes many of Pereira’s recent opponents have been too intimidated by the UFC light heavyweight champion and are “already defeated before the fight starts.”

“His biggest weakness is that he is all attack, he has no defense,” Vakhitov said of Pereira. “Because of his lack of defense, he is open to taking a lot of punches to the head if he’s facing a skilled striker. You saw that in his second fight with Adesanya. He got caught because he leaves a lot of openings for people who know what they are doing.

“These other guys haven’t done well against Alex because their striking isn’t at a high enough level. They aren’t confident against him and they think he’s unbeatable, so in their heart they are already defeated before the fight starts. But I have beaten him before in pure striking competition, and I am sure I’ll do it again if we can get our trilogy match in the UFC.”

Pereira, who recently knocked out Jiri Prochazka a second time to successfully defend his title at UFC 303, responded to the Russian striker on Instagram, giving Vakhitov advice.

“Hey brother, be careful with the people that are giving you this idea,” Pereira wrote in Portuguese. “The same person that is advising you to do that has tried the same to me and I didn’t do because I’m not stupid LOL Everybody knows that when they gave you the win [in GLORY in 2021] it’s because GLORY knew that that would be my last fight in the organization and they didn’t want me to leave with the belt! For you to expose yourself like this, it seems that you’re a bit lost and almost certainly doesn’t have a manager. That’s what I think. You should send a message to ‘Joinha’ [Jorge Guimarães, Pereira’s manager] because I think he can help you. Chama.”

Pereira became an undisputed two-division champion in GLORY in January 2021 when he won a split decision over Vakhitov. The two fought in a rematch eight months later. At that point, “Poatan” was already expected to ink a deal with the UFC, and Vakhitov won his belt back via majority decision. Pereira made his UFC debut two months later with a second-round knockout over Andreas Michailidis at Madison Square Garden.