Lots of fighters held a great year in 2022. For example, Roman Dolidze, The Georgian fighter, was unranked just a few months ago but earned 3 victories in a row in battles where he was considered an underdog.
However, in all of those battles, he earned victories. He became the #8 contender of the division after defeating Jack Hermansson via TKO and also scheduled his next bout against Marvin Vettori.
Still, all these accomplishments look like nothing next to Alex Pereira, who started the year as an unranked fighter and became champion at the end of 2022.
Pereira started 2022 by fighting Bruno Silva, a very experienced MMA fighter with great striking abilities. 19 victories out of 22 he earned via KO, and he also had huge MMA experience, which meant that he had to have a wrestling and grappling advantage over Pereira.
However, we witnessed a great war between these athletes, but as time passed, it was obvious that Pereira was a better striker.
In the second bout of the year, Pereira’s battle was scheduled with one of the division’s best strikers, Sean Strickland. Sean was on 6 winning streaks and was undefeated since his return. He was also undefeated in the middleweight division.
Everyone expected wrestling from Strickland, but he decided to stand and bang with the former glory double champion, which Sean himself considered a mistake after the fight. He said that he needed to wrestle more after suffering a first-round KO loss.
Pereira’s biggest weapon always is his massive left hook and right cross. Sean was saying that Alex had nothing but a left hook, but as it turned out, Sean was not prepared for that weapon at all because that was the punch that dropped him first, and the following right cross dropped him for the second time.
On the same card, Adesanya defeated Cannonier, and after that victory, he called out Pereira and announced his next title defense.
On November 2022, Alex Pereira faced Israel Adesanya for the middleweight throne. Adesanya won the fight, and after four rounds, it was 3-1 for Adesanya on the judge’s scorecard. After 4th round, Glover Teixeira, the cornerman of the Pereira, told him that he needed knockout no matter what.
Pereira went to the final round to earn the finish and kept pushing forward. In just 2 minutes, Pereira started landing huge shots. He landed a great left hook again. When Adesanya was hurt, Alex began to mix uppercuts and hooks, and the referee stopped the fight after several dangerous shots.
“Poatan” became the champion of the UFC in just a year.