Alex Pereira has advanced to a higher level in Brazilian jiu-jitsu just a few days after claiming the lightweight championship with a victory over Israel Adesanya at UFC 281.
The new champion was awarded the degree of the brown belt on Wednesday by one of Pereira's instructors, BJJ black belt Plinio Cruz, who went on Instagram to make the announcement.
Pereira is a veteran kickboxer who has earned more than 30 professional victories. He is well recognized for his world-class striking, and his ground game is not as well known as his striking. He has competed in eight professional mixed martial arts fights and has won six of them via knockout. The one fight he lost was via submission.
Despite this, Pereira has been victorious in his most recent bouts, including the main event at UFC 281, when he showed a considerable level of grappling awareness and defense. During that fight, Pereira had difficulty in the few ground exchanges he had with Adesanya, but he managed to survive and ultimately win the fight through knockout in the fifth and final round.
Cruz explained why Pereira was promoted to the level of brown belt: The Brazilian fighter is currently unbeaten in the UFC and has defeated Adesanya three times, twice in kickboxing and once in a mixed martial arts competition.
Pereira can look forward to a host of challenges that will try to test his jiu-jitsu now that he is the new champion of the middleweight division in the UFC. These challenges will include former champion Robert Whittaker as well as former title challengers Jared Cannonier and Marvin Vettori, amongst others.