Michel Pereira, one of the UFC’s most exciting fighters on the roster will return at UFC 270 against the debuting Andre Fialho. While Pereira was first scheduled to fight Muslim Salikhov, the Dagestani fighter withdrew due to undisclosed reasons. However, the Portuguese standout and Bellator alumni in Fialho had no qualms about making his UFC entry on short notice.
After racking up four wins in his last four fights including a knockout of ex-UFC prospect James Vick, Fialho believes himself ready for the sport’s biggest league. On the other hand, Pereira last fought at UFC 264 in July, adding a third victory to his current streak against the always dangerous Niko Price. The man to win has much to gain, as Fialho could potentially begin his UFC run off right, and Pereira could secure another win to his best streak in the promotion yet.
Fialho will come in as a -240 underdog in his UFC debut against Michel Pereira.
- Pereira: -310
- Fialho: +240
Pereira has cemented himself as one of the greatest showmen to ever grace the octagon with a fight style encompassing both martial arts and also essentially acrobatics. He will use the cage to catapult in a variety of attacks, which while has been done by others like Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis, has never been such a constant in fights as with Pereira. He will also dazzle fans by attempting backflips onto downed opponents, to both land attacks and even sometimes to pass the guard. Obviously, the athleticism required for a style like this is evident in the Brazilian in his style.
Over his last few fights, the issues with this approach have slowly been minimized but are not totally absent. His large, extravagant movements cost him energy when they are not enough to put the opponent’s lights out, and thus he has shown a tendency to fade by the closing bell. However, he has shown improvements in selecting when to be creative and when to stick to the basics. He moves between a large flamboyant style with flashy kicks and a direct down the middle style where he punches with laser-like accuracy. He will shift between the two, using his erratic movement to make his opponents bite and move a certain direction and then strike sharply, he will also allow them to read his basics before catching them off guard with something unorthodox.
Fialho is also an exciting fighter and is for the most part a primary boxer from the orthodox stance. He will use some leg kicks to set up his combinations, but it’s really his punching combinations that cause the most difficulty for his opponents. He likes to walk his opponents down, not necessarily with a lot of volume, but he is sharp and he looks for the knockout shot with good accuracy and technique. His best punches include his left hook, overhand right and he has tremendous uppercuts as well.
However, while this style has its strengths and weaknesses, against Periera, quite a few are of note. His tendency to box leaves his lead leg very heavy, Periera who has the dexterity and speed in his legs may be able to land on the leg by mixing up his kicks and keeping it a dominant weapon during this fight. Pereira is also great at sniping down the pipe, and with Fialho marching forward those counters will be a possibility, we may even see Fialho put Pereira on the fence only for Pereira to use the fence to counter back with even more force.
I don’t see this fight ending up on the ground as it’s the area of the fight that neither man typically attempts to bring it to. If it does, however, I would lean to Periera having the advantage. On the feet, both are specialists in their style, and while Fialho’s more boxing-based economical style may have the potential to slowly wear down the flashy Pereira, it’s important to note that because it is short notice, the extra time in camp may even negate this factor.
Prediction: Michel Periera to win
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.