Last Man to Beat Alex Pereira: UFC Opponents Defeated Before Fight

Artem Vakhitov, a former kickboxing rival of UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira, believes he has the skills and team to dethrone Pereira in a potential trilogy fight in the UFC, citing Pereira’s lack of defense as a key weakness.

Artem Vakhitov doesn’t think UFC light heavyweights are confident enough when they enter the octagon to challenge 205-pound champion Alex Pereira. He believes he could be the one to dethrone his old rival down the line.

Vakhitov and Pereira fought twice in kickboxing. “Poatan” won a split decision to become undisputed two-division champion in GLORY in 2021. Vakhitov avenged the loss with a majority decision eight months later.

Pereira then walked away from kickboxing, joined the UFC, claimed belts in two weight classes, and became a global star. Meanwhile, Vakhitov officially transitioned to MMA in 2023.

He lost his professional debut after dislocating his elbow just 55 seconds into the fight. However, the Russian striker rebounded with back-to-back first-round knockouts in early 2024.

Vakhitov dreams of fighting in UFC and getting another crack at Pereira. Recently, Pereira defended his UFC light heavyweight title with a second-round head kick knockout of Jiri Prochazka at UFC 303.

“MMA was always interesting for me anyway,” Vakhitov told MMA Fighting. “But obviously I am very motivated by the prospect of getting that trilogy match with Pereira.”

“He’s a superstar now and I am happy for him,” he continued. “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.”

Pereira has only lost once since joining UFC. That loss came via a highlight-reel knockout by fellow kickboxing ace Israel Adesanya.

Vakhitov is confident Pereira’s striking isn’t flawless. “His biggest weakness is that he is all attack; he has no defense,” Vakhitov said.

“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.” He pointed out how this was evident in Pereira’s second fight with Adesanya.

“These other guys haven’t done well against Alex because their striking isn’t at a high enough level.” Vakhitov added that they aren’t confident against him and think he’s unbeatable.

“But I have beaten him before in pure striking competition,” Vakhitov said confidently. “I am sure I’ll do it again if we can get our trilogy match in the UFC.”

Vakhitov recently moved to Florida to train at Kill Cliff FC and evolve as a mixed martial artist. He is rounding out his MMA skills every day and hopes to earn a UFC deal soon.

“It needed a striker as good as me but also a team as good as mine,” Vakhitov said proudly. He credits Kuzbass Muay Thai under head coach Vitaly Miller for their detailed analysis of opponents.

“We are 1-1 against each other,” Vakhitov noted about his rivalry with Pereira. He believes their next fight will be huge for fans worldwide.

“We are both top-level strikers,” he said excitedly, imagining their potential matchup in the UFC octagon with small gloves on.

“Alex will be completely analyzed by Vitaly Miller and the Kuzbass team.” Vakhitov feels confident they will identify all of Pereira’s mistakes and prepare him thoroughly for their bout.

“Alex and I know each other well,” Vakhitov added warmly. Despite their rivalry, both teams maintain good relations and occasionally message each other.

“I always wish victory for him when he fights.” But when it’s time for them to share the octagon again? “It will be time to demonstrate finally who is the best striker.”

“All questions will be answered on that day.”


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