"He's all attack, he has no defense," The last man to beat Alex Pereira in kickboxing gives his take on 'Poatan's' UFC run (2024)

Alex Pereira is ready to step back into the Octagon for the third time this year at UFC 305. Meanwhile, critical old rival Artem Vakhitov is hoping for a trilogy clash.

"He's all attack, he has no defense," The last man to beat Alex Pereira in kickboxing gives his take on 'Poatan's' UFC run (1)

Alex Pereira fields new criticism from Artem Vakhitov (Source: IMAGO/instagram)

Since Alex Pereira joined the UFC in 2021, the 37-year-old has been a virtually unstoppable reckoning. The last kickboxer who outstruck him in his own mettle blames it on the talent pool. Artem Vakhitov feels that the UFC’s light heavyweights aren’t competitive enough when they step in to challenge the 205-pound champ.

Alex Pereira made a quick return at UFC 303’s Pay-per-view headliner and starved Jiri Prochazkavia head kick and pounding at the 0:13 mark of R2. This marks five title bouts for the Brazilian, who laid waste to multiple former champs in under eight consecutive months. Even fighters a class heavier want to test it out against him. Artem Vakhitov pitches what he thinks of it all:

He’s a superstar now and I am happy for him, but when I hear people saying he’s the best striker in the world, well, I think it’s time for MMA fans to learn about me and my team, put it that way...His biggest weakness is that he’s all attack, he has no defense. 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. 
Artem Vakhitov in an Exclusive Interview for MMAFighting on SBN

Pereira and Vakhitov first faced off at Glory 77, when ‘Poatan’ earned a split decision victory over the Russian to capture the light-heavyweight gold. Eight months later, the two strikers met again at Glory 78, with the 33-year-old winning a majority nod. A classic Pereira-Israel Adesanya dynamic at work. He is always wishing for the Brazilian’s victory unless it’s him he is facing.

More to it, they are 1-1 to the bit. As a result, he thinks Pereira’s striking (or anyone else) isn’t flawless. With wrestle-base sluggers from his time like Jon Jones,Glover Teixeira,Phil Davis, andRyan Bader missing, Daniel Cormier hypothesizes that Pereira would go unchecked if nobody wrestles with him. Vakhitov doubles down on the notion, taking aim at improper striking as well.

Related: ‘Cr*zy’ Alex Pereira asked to ‘pump the brakes’ after asking to fight on UFC 305 card

Artem Vakhitov looking forward to all-striking trilogy with Alex Pereira

Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira has been a brand value champion and pound-for-pound standout in recent history. 11-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC at the moment, Pereira headlined the historic milestone April Pay-per-view card without a stretched-out camp. Additionally, ‘Poatan’ was a top bill at UFC 300, expanding non-domestic viewerships at ESPN platforms (ESPN+, Hulu SVOD, ESPN & ESPN Deportes).

"He's all attack, he has no defense," The last man to beat Alex Pereira in kickboxing gives his take on 'Poatan's' UFC run (2)

He has wonPerformance Of The Night Bonusesat UFC 268, 276, 281, and 295 and is yet again on quite a bleed. But Pereira’s game isn’t without its holes. Much has been made about him having a linear skill as a kickboxer and not a clincher. But, Vakhitov believes Pereira also lacks striking defense, which was on display against ‘Stylebender’. Adesanya’s excellent spatial control outstruck him at the right moment. Artem Vakhitov wants to capitalize on that if and when they meet again.

These other guys haven’t done well against Alex because their striking isn’t high enough level. They aren’t confident against him and they think he’s unbeatable, so in their heart, they are already defeated...But I have beaten him before in pure striking competition, and I’m sure I’ll do it again if we can get our trilogy match in the UFC.
Artem Vakhitov further said (via MMAFighting on SBN)

Following Pereira’s move to the premier promotion and emphatic rise as two-division GLORY and UFC champion, they haven’t got the chance to fight again. Vakhitov later transitioned to MMA and has a 2-1 record himself. He is currently training out of Kill Hill FC to pressure on his fighting skills.

Vakhitov says he and his team are close to the fighter from São Bernardo Do Campo, Brazil, along with Plinio Cruz and Team Teixeira MMA & Fitness. He wishes him well and often hits up before matches. But if it’s him Pereira shares the ring with, he has some plans. He is sure he can beat him again in a trilogy match in UFC.

In case you missed it:

  • WATCH: Alex Pereira has emotional breakdown after Glory Kickboxing Hall Of Fame induction days before MSG fight
  • Alex Pereira Net Worth 2024: How rich is ‘Poatan’?
"He's all attack, he has no defense," The last man to beat Alex Pereira in kickboxing gives his take on 'Poatan's' UFC run (2024)
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