Always the entertainer, polarizing striker, Michel ‘Demolidor’ Pereira returned to winning ways at UFC Fight Night Vegas 9 with a standout performance opposite Zelim Imadaev – scoring a contentious rear-naked choke victory.
Off the back of his triumph – the charismatic Brazilian called for an unlikely pairing for his next Octagon outing – a BMF championship clash with recent welterweight title challenger, Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal.
A matchup opposite Masvidal appears highly unlikely at this moment in time, with the Floridian currently in discussions to rematch Stockton all-rounder, Nate Diaz at UFC 246 in January – with BMF status up for grabs once more.
Nevertheless, that planned pairing hasn’t deterred Pereira, who called for a matchup alongside Masvidal during his post-fight interview with UFC commentator, Jon Anik.
“”Dana White, Sean Shelby, I want the BMF belt,” Pereira said. “”Jorge Masvidal, beware, you are next.“
In arguably his best Octagon performance to date, the unorthodox striker utilised his capoeira background early and often – attempting spinning, front, and even ‘Showtime’ kick variations on cue. During a second-round exchange, Pereira began open hand slapping Imadaev – reminiscent of past exploits of both Nick, and the previously noted, Nate Diaz.
Dominating the fight majorly on the feet – the 27-year-old Pará native scooted to Imadaev’s back, before suplexing the Chechen striker, and setting up a rear-naked choke. Although it appears Imadaev never submitted, referee Chris Tognoni separated the pair, giving Pereira a rear-naked choke win instead of a certain unanimous decision shutout.
As noted earlier, a re-run between American Top Team staple, Masvidal and TUF victor, Diaz is currently targeted for January. If that bout comes to fruition, it will mark Masvidal’s first Octagon appearance since his short-notice title challenge defeat to current 170-pound kingpin, Kamaru ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman at UFC 251 in July.
Taking another prolonged hiatus, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Diaz is yet to feature in the Octagon since his UFC 244 headliner opposite Masvidal last November at Madison Square Garden. Failing to mount any real offence compared to his opponent’s output, Diaz was stopped by an Octagon side physician from continuing beyond the third-round, with a notable laceration present on his right eyelid. In a somewhat dampened end to the evening, Masvidal claimed the BMF championship with a doctor’s stoppage triumph.