Ahead of their UFC 276 middleweight clash, Sean Strickland suggested he may abandon his striking tendencies against Alex Pereira, a very accomplished kickboxer. Strickland did not follow through on that suggested gameplan and paid a heavy price, suffering a first-round knockout.
Strickland stuck to his standard style, standing tall and stiff and trying to walk forward. That was ill-advised against a striker the quality of Pereira. The Brazilian simply waited patiently while working kicks to the body and lead leg of Strickland.
Strickland never shifted from his approach, continuing to walk forward into a buzzsaw of a striker. As the kicks to Strickland’s calf appeared to be taking a toll, Pereira engaged his hands, landing a big left hook that sent Strickland to the canvas. As Strickland tried to rise back to his feet, he ate another right hand and crashed to the canvas a second time, this time needing the referee to step in and call a halt to the action.
Pereira is now in the mix for a potential title shot. He has two wins over UFC middleweight king Israel Adesanya in the kickboxing ring, including a brutal knockout.
Should Adesanya manage to retain his title against Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC 276, he could see his old kickboxing rival in the Octagon.