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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Nolan King and Ken Hathaway

Alex Pereira recounts Glover Teixeira’s honest corner advice before final round that sparked UFC 281 comeback

NEW YORK – Alex Pereira is middleweight champion, thanks to honesty from his corner heading into the fifth round of his title fight Saturday at UFC 281.

As he strolled into the press room at Madison Square Garden fresh, Pereira (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) smiled, an unusual sight for a usually serious character. A title-earning TKO was the difference.

“A lot of emotions went through my head,” Pereira told MMA Junkie and other reporters through an interpreter at the post-fight news conference. “So many years of hard work in that cage and here I am, champion of the world.”

Was it not for a serious last-round uptick in urgency, Pereira may have lost a decision, which is the direction the fight was trending. According to the scorecards, all three judges had him down 39-37.

Thanks to former light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira and his corner’s honesty, a spark was ignited and an inspired Pereira got the job done.

“Coming into this fight, I knew it was going to be a very hard fight,” Pereira said. “I tried to pace myself. But going into the last round, my corners and Glover kept it real with me. They looked in my eyes, and I said, ‘Do I have to knock him out?’ And Glover said, ‘You do have to knock him out.’ Then I said, ‘OK, let’s do it.’

A kickboxing world champion of yesteryear, Pereira now hoists a major title in MMA, since he defeated Israel Adesanya (23-2 MMA, 13-2 UFC) by fifth-round knockout.

“This is the main one, for sure, because every other ones are important, but due to the history and everything, this is my main win,” Pereira said, to indicate this is the most meaningful championship of his career.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 281.

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