UFC Vegas 9 took place this past weekend, and one of the biggest talking points of the night were the slaps that ensued during the welterweight bout between Michel Pereira and Zelim Imadaev.
Face-Off Bad Blood
Pereira told reporters at the UFC APEX Center (transcribed by MMA Fighting) that the reasoning for his repeated slapping of Zelim, was due to a pre-fight face off scuffle between the two where Imadaev slapped him.
“I don’t know why exactly he did this, but I told him I would pay him back, and I did in the fight,” Pereira explained. “I’m a man – you cannot slap my face.”
Seeing something out of the ordinary in a Pereira bout has become a major part of his fighting persona, however, this fight may have lacked some of the usual acrobatics we have become accustomed to.
“I was not trying to save energy,” the 27-year-old admitted. “[Flips are] harder for me, but I’m going to do it again.”
Performance Bonus Earning Victory
Even without the back flips and extensive acrobatic moves, Pereira still managed to entertain the fans sand disrespect his opponent in other ways.
“I showed my hand, I kissed my hand and I slapped him so he can learn he’s not going to do it again,” Pereira said. “He cannot do that.”
Pereira’s submission victory in the third round also earned him a performance bonus in a bout he was largely dominating from the start until eventually finding the finish. The stoppage may have been somewhat premature, but the Brazilian explained the result would have been the same.
“I didn’t feel when he tapped, but the position was very, very tight,” he said. “So in that case, he would tap or he would sleep.”
Pereira’s win put him back in the win column after back-to-back losses, and left him wanting to call the shots for the next fight. Calling out the BMF champion, Jorge Masvidal.
“I’m always doing my best when I fight the best guys, and I’m pretty sure Masvidal is one of them,” Pereira said. “If we fight, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be huge, huge show. The fans would love it if we fight.”
‘Demolidor’ would go on to say that Masvidal would not get the same treatment as Imadaev, unless he deserved it.
“If he doesn’t respect me, yes, I would slap him,” Pereira said. “But I just want to fight the best, and I’m sure we’d give a huge show for the fans.”
Who would you most like to see Michel Pereira face off against next?