Few things spark more heated debates in the MMA sphere than MMA Math.
Take Alex Pereira’s case as an example.
Sure, Pereira was a decorated two-division champion in GLORY, and his definitive move to MMA was inevitably going to draw eyeballs. But the fact he held two wins over UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in kickboxing made him an overnight sensation. After just two UFC wins in four months, he’s already been paired up in a potential No. 1 contender bout with Sean Strickland on July 30.
And that’s how Quemuel Ottoni entered the chat.
Ottoni, who won the vacant Jungle Fight welterweight title by finishing Jose Diaz this past Sunday, gave Pereira his sole loss in MMA back in 2015. Ottoni was 3-0 at the time and MMA debutant Pereira was a decorated kickboxer six months away from his first win over Adesanya.
“I’m Alex’s father and Adesanya’s grandfather,” Ottoni laughed in an interview with MMA Fighting. “People always joke about that in the gym.”
Ottoni, 29, tapped Pereira midway through Round 3 at Jungle Fight 82.
“I believe my heart made the difference that night,” Ottoni said. “He was more technical than me, way more experienced in kickboxing, but no way he would beat my heart.”
Ottoni hopes that recently capturing the Jungle Fight belt — and improving to 11-3 as a professional with five straight victories — might lead to a contract with the UFC or an opportunity at Dana White’s Contender Series in Las Vegas. He calls welterweight home, but he isn’t opposed to a move back to middleweight to “run it back” with Pereira if the price is right.
“Alex, who’s in the UFC, sent me a DM saying I would never be more than a Jungle Fight fighter,” he said. “We sparred twice at the Revira gym [a few years ago], and I did well in one session, and he did well in the other. He didn’t like a post I made and said he wouldn’t post the video [of the sparring] because I wasn’t more than a Jungle Fight fighter. That pissed me off.
“I won the belt today and remembered that. I want to remind him that I submitted him in this corner of the cage, and I’m the champion now, something he didn’t become.”
Pereira could be two wins away from capturing the UFC middleweight title, but Ottoni doesn’t think his old foe will actually beat Adesanya in the octagon.
“My brother fought on the same card of their rematch, when Alex knocked him out, and Alex was losing that fight,” Ottoni said. “He wasn’t finding Israel Adesanya in the ring. Credit to him for landing a punch. He’s tough, but I don’t think he finds Adesanya on the feet [in MMA].
“[Pereira] has gotten better since we fought, but he gives up his back every time he gets back up and that’s not good. If he does that against ‘Sergipano’ [Andre Muniz] or a jiu-jitsu guy like myself, who trains at Demian Maia’s gym, that’s what we do.”