Oleksiejczuk Hopes to Not Drag Wild Man Out of Pereira

January 11, 2024
1 month

Michel Pereira is one of the least predictable fighters in UFC history. More than once, in a fight Pereira was winning, he was willing to attempt a wild flying attack that left him drained of energy for the rest of the bout. All the MMA news sites used to rage about his style being exciting and not predictable. Pereira isn’t quite the wild man he used to be.

But that’s not to say he isn’t willing to take risks. Before Pereira won by knockout in his last fight, he had seen his previous four fights go to the scorecards. At UFC 299, Pereira will have another opportunity to show what he is made of against Polish fighter Michał Oleksiejczuk. Oleksiejczuk has finished three of his past four fights.

This bout was put together as a matchup likely to produce fireworks for what the UFC hopes is a big pay-per-view event. Both men are capable of forcing a sudden stoppage. This will be a fight where the first man to find a home for his strikes first may force a quick stoppage.

Pereira Has Unorthodox Style

Pereira’s roots in combat sports come from his background in karate, according to the best MMA news site. With his open stance, Pereira can throw a wide range of strikes from angles that can trouble MMA fighters who have a more rigid style. Pereira took time to develop his own style.

After winning his first three professional fights back in 2011, he suffered three straight losses. Pereira would take a lot of time to find his home in the octagon. Before heading to the UFC, he would take fights all over the world. Not all of them would be ones most casual fans would recognize.

At least one in Korea was an open-weight-class fight. He would have to compete in 35 fights before making his UFC debut in May 2019 against Danny Roberts.

Pereira showed his show-stopping style quickly. He knocked out Roberts with a flying knee in the first round. That may have been the worst outcome for Pereira, who would try to lean too heavily on wild attacks in the next few bouts. Pereira would end up losing his next two fights via decision and disqualification.

Winning Doesn’t Always Have to be Spectacular

While Pereira was known for his spectacular finishes, he made some adjustments after the loss to Diego Sanchez. He would fight with more caution against some powerful strikers. During a bout with powerful puncher Khaos Williams, Pereira was able to strike from a distance and grab a decision victory.

With the new approach, Pereira has won six consecutive fights. Pereira’s most recent fight may be a signal to long-time fans that fighting at middleweight may be the right spot for him. Previously, Pereira had competed at welterweight.

Against Andre Petroski last October, Pereira showed he was comfortable fighting at a heavier weight class. Pereira dropped Petroski with a stiff right hand a minute into the fight to pick up a TKO win. It was Pereira’s first KO win since his debut fight.

All in the Family

Oleksiejczuk didn’t have to worry about doing everything himself. His younger brother was also interested in the sport and went professional. Oleksiejczuk started fighting professionally in 2014. 

When he first came into the sport, Oleksiejczuk spent the first eight years of his career at light heavyweight. However, after being tested at the highest levels, he decided it would be a better spot for him to drop down to the middleweight division.

Oleksiejczuk’s Dismal Debut

Oleksiejczuk showed enough on the regional scene to be able to earn a UFC contract after just 14 professional fights. But his stay in the promotion was nearly cut short. Oleksiejczuk impressed in his debut by beating Khalil Rountree Jr.

Then Oleksiejczuk had the decision overturned to a no contest after he failed a drug test. After serving a suspension, Oleksiejczuk returned after nearly 18 months off to pick up a TKO win over Gian Villante in February 2019.

Oleksiejczuk has had some mixed results in the UFC. While he has picked up wins over lower-level fighters, most of his steps up in competition have gone poorly. Oleksiejczuk was submitted by Ovince Saint Preux, Jimmy Crute and Caio Borralho during his time in the UFC.

Oleksiejczuk is entering this fight with Pereira on a high note. He knocked out another powerful puncher during his last fight. Oleksiejczuk picked up his 14th career knockout with a first-round TKO win over Chidi Njokuani.

UFC Adds Wild Fights to UFC 299 Card

Pereira and Oleksiejczuk is a fight that UFC CEO Dana White believes he can count on to add excitement to the card. UFC 299 is being headlined by a championship fight between Sean O’Malley and Marlon Vera. The co-main event fight between Dustin Poirier and Benoît Saint Denis will be another fight that could end with a spectacular stoppage.

Looking to Add Another Stoppage

Oleksiejczuk and Pereira have both been known for their willingness to stand in the pocket and trade with their opponents. Both men are coming off first-round knockout victories. While Pereira has been more restrained since he went on a brief two-fight losing streak earlier in his UFC career, he seems to be much more comfortable at middleweight.

Pereira’s ability when fighting in the more natural weight class for his build could be problematic for Oleksiejczuk. Pereira has the ability to finish any fight with his unpredictability and power. This will be a solid fight on the UFC 299 card. With the high probability of either man scoring a knockout, it may be one on the undercard that people remember long after the event.

Both men hope to use this fight as a springboard to the top 15 in the rankings and to get more opportunities to fight top fighters.

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