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Count Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight Michel Pereira among those that believe his battle with Niko Price should have earned “Fight of the Night.”
Both Pereira (26-11, 2 NC) and Price (14-5, 2 NC) brawled for three hard-fought rounds on the prelims of UFC 264, with Pereira getting his hand raised at the end. Much to their chagrin, the main card offering, Sean O'Malley’s one-sided beating of newcomer Kris Moutinho, earned the $75k prize instead. The win was Pereira’s third in a row inside the Octagon, and the victorious Brazilian spoke to Sherdog shortly after his victory to give his thoughts on the whole ordeal.
“They should consider the level of the opponent's when choosing the bonus,” Pereira said. “O’Malley got an [easy opponent], that was not a fair decision. Niko and I faced tough opponents before, and did a three-round war. We should get that bonus!”
Pereira also commented on the controversial strike where he backflipped over Price’s guard and stomped Price’s face in the second round.
“When I did the ‘Canga Leitao,’ my intention was to pass his guard, not stomp his face,” Pereira explained. “That’s why I executed the jump with my legs open, but he moved his head. Actually, there are a lot of illegal blows in MMA, like eye pokes, strikes [to the back of the head], kicks in [the] groin. But we are talking about a complete combat sport like MMA, so sometimes it happens. The referee is there to judge if it was intentional. Niko poked my eyes twice, and I spent the whole fight seeing him smudged. I’m sure he had no intention [to foul him], just like I didn’t have intention to hit his face with my foot.”
Pereira went on to explain why he won the first two rounds, before slowing in the third.
“Niko hit me with a punch in the nose in the very beginning [of the round], and due to bleeding, I started to have problems [breathing], that’s why I became so tired,” Pereira admitted. “If it was not for the excellent work of my physical trainer, Rafael Alejarra, I wouldn’t have [had the] physical and cardio conditions to fight until the end of the third round.”
The man known as “Demolidor” also revealed that within two weeks he will be back to training, and he hopes for a call from the UFC to return as soon as possible.
“I hope UFC finally gives me a ranked opponent, but I’ll be ready for anyone they offer me,” Pereira wished, before drifting into a pair of dream matchups. “Of course, I would love to face Usman for the belt. As I said I’m a very bad match up for him, but once my biggest pleasure is bringing an exciting fight to the fans. And concerning that, if I could choose an opponent, [it] would be Nate Diaz. According to his style and the way he fights, I think we could make a really fun, historical fight [for] the fans.”