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After beating Alex Pereira in kickboxing, Artem Vakhitov wants to do same in MMA

LockerRoom Team
Calendar Icon09 July 2024

Artem Vakhitov, a two-time GLORY light heavyweight champion, has set his sights on a highly anticipated trilogy bout with Alex Pereira, following Pereira’s successful transition from kickboxing to MMA. Pereira, who transitioned fully into MMA four years ago, realized his dream by defeating Israel Adesanya at UFC 281 to claim the championship.

The history between Vakhitov and Pereira is marked by intense competition, with each fighter securing one victory against the other under the GLORY Kickboxing banner. Pereira emerged victorious in their first encounter in January 2017 by split decision, while Vakhitov avenged this loss eight months later with a majority decision. This rematch marked the final defeat in Pereira’s kickboxing career before he joined the UFC.

Despite the mutual respect between the fighters, Vakhitov remains determined to settle their rivalry in the UFC Octagon. “We are 1-1 against each other, so the next fight will be the trilogy fight and I think that will be a big fight for fans all over the world,” Vakhitov stated in a written message to MMA Junkie. “We are both top-level strikers. Imagine us in the UFC Octagon with small gloves on. Alex will be thoroughly analyzed by my team, and I will be fully prepared to exploit any weaknesses.”

Since his MMA debut in 2023, Vakhitov has compiled a 2-1 record. Although his debut was marred by an elbow injury, he rebounded with two consecutive TKO victories, each lasting less than two minutes. To further enhance his MMA skills, Vakhitov has commenced training at Kill Cliff FC in Florida.

“I am improving my MMA game daily,” Vakhitov explained. “I am driven by the possibility of a trilogy match with Pereira. He has become a superstar, which is great, but I believe it’s time for MMA fans to recognize my capabilities and my team’s.”

Vakhitov identifies Pereira’s primary weakness as his lack of defense, a vulnerability he plans to exploit. “Pereira is all offense with little defense,” Vakhitov noted. “He leaves himself open to head strikes, as seen in his second fight with Adesanya. Skilled strikers can take advantage of this flaw.”

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Confident in his ability to defeat Pereira once more, Vakhitov looks forward to the potential UFC matchup. “Other fighters haven’t fared well against Alex because their striking isn’t at the necessary level and they lack confidence. I’ve already beaten him in striking, and I am confident I can do it again in the UFC.”

A potential trilogy bout in the UFC between Vakhitov and Pereira promises to be a highly anticipated event, showcasing the skills and determination of two of the most formidable strikers in combat sports.

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