Alex Pereira is bringing in some big guns to help him prepare for his rematch with Israel Adesanya next month.

In November, Alex Pereira shocked the world when he defeated ‘The Last Stylebender’ via fifth-round knockout to capture the UFC middleweight championship. On April 8, the pair will run it back, headlining UFC 287 live from Miami-Dade Arena. Already a world-class striker boasting three wins and two knockouts against Adesanya across two different sports, ‘Poatan’ is taking no chances in their highly anticipated UFC rematch.

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On Twitter, Pereira revealed that he had procured the services of 24-win heavyweight boxing veteran Zhilei Zhang.

“What a sparring! After 4 rounds with zhilei zhang Im very confident for my next fight! It was a hard and dangerous sparring – exactly what I needed. Now I know even more- I’m ready for 8th of April!”

Alex Pereira Gunning for Fifth Straight Win Inside the Octagon

Competing as an amateur, Zhang won bronze medals at the 2007 and 2009 World Championships and scored a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. As a professional, Zhang has 24 career wins with an incredible 19 coming by way of knocking, leaving no question as to why Alex Pereira chose him as a sparring partner ahead of his return on April 8.

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Alex Pereira is 4-0 inside the Octagon, holding victories over Andreas Michailidis, Bruno Silva, Sean Strickland, and the aforementioned Israel Adesanya. Before transitioning to mixed martial arts, ‘Poatan’ went 33-7 in kickboxing, competing primarily under the GLORY banner. He captured the promotion’s middleweight and light heavyweight titles during his run and earned Combat Press’ Knockout of the Year honors in 2017 for his brutal KO of Israel Adesanya at GLORY Heroes 7.

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As for Zhilei Zhang, the Chinese heavyweight is scheduled to return to the squared circle one week after Pereira steps back into the Octagon. He will face Joe Joyce for the WBO interim heavyweight championship.

Craig Pekios is a freelance writer born and raised in Bettendorf, IA. Joining LowKick MMA in May 2022, Craig has more than 2,500 articles published that focus on the world of mixed martial arts and boxing, including news, event previews, results, analysis, and op-eds. Aside from working with LowKick MMA, Craig has contributed to news outlets Overtime Heroics, Sportskeeda, and MiddleEasy.