Top-level MMA can be an extremely technical sport, with fighters adjusting to their opponents’ habits every minute and doing their best to pick up on the smallest quirks in timing and technique. That said, it can also be a hilarious dumb-guy ballet, which brings us to UFC fighter Michel Pereira.
Before coming to the UFC, Pereira first made his name as an athletic weirdo who would overuse every flashy, spinning technique in the book. He also had an odd habit of backflipping onto his opponents.
The Brazilian made his UFC debut in May, scoring a quick knockout of Danny Roberts. The referee in that fight thankfully pulled Pereira away before he could hit a signature backflip. Think of him as a slightly less functional Johnny Walker.
Pereira fought again last weekend at UFC Vancouver, and he was all set up for another big-time finish, as the promotion matched him up against local fighter Tristan Connelly, who was making his UFC debut with less than one week’s notice. But Pereira spent the first round of the fight doing, well, what he was signed to do.
The magic ran out shortly after the first round. Pereira—who claims to cut 38.5 pounds to make the welterweight limit and missed weight last weekend by a pound—looked spent after his antics in the opening frame, and two of the three judges gave Connelly a 10-8 score for a third round spent entirely grinding Pereira into dust.
Pereira claimed on Instagram that he gassed out and crashed at the end of the fight not because of his backflipping antics, but simply because of the weight cut. He pointed out that putting on a show is foundational to his game, which is a fair point. Pereira probably won’t ever fight for a championship belt; he’s there for the nonsense.
“I fight for you guys, to put on a show or you. Let’s support more and criticize less. I fight this way to make UFC more fun. Fighters today only think about winning and put on boring fights, and that’s why MMA is decreasing so much. I want to make my fans happy by watching my fights, but this time things happened and led to my defeat. I lost to myself. I will be back to do it even better. You’ll see I have cardio to fight three rounds no problem.”