Report: UFC Could Host Ultimate Trilogy Between Former Foes

Artem Vakhitov Sets Sights on UFC Trilogy with Alex Pereira

In the high-stakes world of mixed martial arts, few stories capture the imagination quite like the prospect of a storied rivalry reignited under new rules. Artem Vakhitov, a formidable name in kickboxing, is aiming to bring his competitive history with UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira into the octagon, eyeing a trilogy fight that promises fireworks.

A Rivalry Rekindled

Vakhitov’s transition to MMA in 2023 was marked by initial setbacks, including a dislocated elbow just 55 seconds into his debut. Despite these challenges, he has quickly risen through the ranks with back-to-back first-round knockouts in early 2024, setting the stage for a potential showdown with his old rival, Pereira.

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Their kickboxing duels have left fans and fighters alike on the edge of their seats. Pereira, now a superstar in the UFC, first clashed with Vakhitov at Glory 77 in 2021, where Pereira narrowly secured a victory. Vakhitov returned the favour at Glory 78, besting Pereira and reclaiming the title by majority decision. This history of fierce competition sets a compelling backdrop for their potential MMA matchup.

Pursuing the Trilogy

Vakhitov’s motivation is not just professional but deeply personal. “MMA was always interesting for me, but the prospect of a trilogy match with Pereira is a big motivation,” he revealed in an interview with MMA Fighting. “He’s a superstar now, and I’m happy for him, but I believe it’s time for MMA fans to learn about me and my team.”

Analyzing Pereira’s Approach

Ahead of Pereira’s recent rematch against Jiri Prochazka, Vakhitov did not mince words about Pereira’s technique, pointing out perceived flaws that could play to his advantage. “His biggest weakness is that he’s all attack, with no defence. He leaves a lot of openings for skilled strikers, which was evident in his second fight with Adesanya,” Vakhitov critiqued, highlighting areas he feels could be exploited in a fight.

Despite Pereira’s knockout win over Prochazka with a dramatic second-round head kick, Vakhitov remains undeterred. He attributes Pereira’s success not just to his striking prowess but to the psychological edge he holds over his opponents, a factor he believes he can overcome.

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Ready for the Octagon

Vakhitov is confident in his capabilities and ready to prove that his victories in kickboxing can translate into MMA success. “I’ve beaten him before in pure striking competition, and I’m sure I’ll do it again if we get our trilogy match in the UFC,” he asserted confidently.

As this rivalry potentially moves into the UFC, it not only introduces Vakhitov to a broader audience but also adds a tantalizing chapter to the light heavyweight division’s narrative. With both fighters having proved their mettle in kickboxing, an MMA trilogy could not only settle old scores but also redefine their legacies in combat sports.

This looming matchup between Vakhitov and Pereira isn’t just another fight; it’s a clash of histories, styles, and ambitions, making it one of the most anticipated potential bouts in the MMA world today.

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