Alex Pereira made history on Sunday morning by becoming the fastest athlete to capture UFC belts in two different weight classes – and immediately called out long-time rival Israel Adesanya for a trilogy MMA bout.
Pereira, 36, recorded an impressive second-round knockout win against Jiri Prochazka at UFC 295 at Madison Square Garden to clinch the vacant light heavyweight title.
The Brazilian wobbled the former champion with a right and then dropped him with a short left, before a flurry of elbows convinced referee Marc Goddard to stop the fight – although many watching thought Prochazka could have continued.
In winning, Pereira becomes only the ninth fighter in UFC history to claim belts in multiple divisions, and the quickest ever in the promotion. It took Pereira only seven fights to enter the record books.
The victory in New York came 364 days after the former two-division Glory Kickboxing champion defeated Adesanya for the middleweight crown at the same venue.
Back then, Pereira knocked out his former kickboxing foe but would lose the rematch in April. Pereira also has two kickboxing wins against Adesanya, who is taking an indefinite break from the sport after losing the middleweight belt to Sean Strickland in September.
Speaking inside the octagon, Pereira challenged Adesanya to step up to light heavyweight and face him in a third title fight.
“I’m not the type of guy to call people out, but there’s a guy that back in the day did some interviews and said I was a guy who was just going to stay in the bar,” Pereira said through a translator. “That motivated me. He rescued me from a bar to be here today.
"This guy said he just wants to come back and fight in 2027. I think he’s a very talented guy. It’s a waste of talent so I want to rescue him too, to come here and fight.
“I know that I’m not going to do what he did to me to and make me fight three times to fight him at middleweight. I know it’s a guy we have a lot of history. I want to make this fight happen.”
Finishing in English, Pereira said: “Adesanya, come to daddy.”
Adesanya responded on social media in typical fashion, posting an image of his knockout of Pereira and referencing the Disney movie Frozen.
Meanwhile, Prochazka made no complaints about Goddard’s stoppage, saying: “I think in that end, it was right. I was out but I will never stop. For me, it’s a big lesson; let’s work on that and be back stronger than ever. Thank you, Alex. Thank you for this fight. I’ll be back.”
In UFC 295’s co-main event, Tom Aspinall knocked out Sergei Pavlovich in little more than a minute to seal the interim heavyweight title.
Both England’s Aspinall and Russia’s Pavlovich accepted the fight on 17 days’ notice after undisputed champion Jon Jones had to withdraw through injury from the original headline bout with Stipe Miocic.
"If you ever get the chance to do something and you're scared to do it, you should just do it," said Aspinall, who needed only 69 seconds to deliver Pavlovich's first defeat in the UFC in seven fights. "It has been a crazy two and a half weeks."
With the win, Aspinall becomes only the third British UFC title holder in history, after Michael Bisping and current welterweight champion Leon Edwards.
Now 14-3 in MMA, Aspinall made his UFC debut in 2020 during the Fight Island series in Abu Dhabi.