Alex Pereira saw opening for head-kick KO after watching Jiri Prochazka warm up in UFC 303 locker room

LAS VEGAS – Alex Pereira’s head kick KO of Jiri Prochazka was one of the best knockouts we’ve seen in 2024. Yet, despite its incredible execution, it was a last-minute addition to the game plan.

The UFC light heavyweight champion told reporters at the UFC 303 post-fight press conference that the idea to attack Prochazka (30-5-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) with the head-kick that was the beginning of the end of the fight was added to the plan hours before the championship bout after watching Prochazka warm up in his locker room.

Pereira (11-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) picked up a mistake from Prochazka, and made sure to capitalize on it when they both stepped in the octagon.

“Actually, I was in the locker room talking to my coaches, and he showed me the video of Jiri warming up, and I saw that he was trying to counter-attack the calf kick – defend and counter,” Pereira said. “But I told Plinio (Cruz) that he was doing the wrong timing. The timing was not good. I saw that he was too focused on taking that kick, and he was keeping his hands down and was exposed, so I told him I was going to explore the high kick”

With the win, Pereira completed his second title defense at 205 pounds. He’s also unbeaten since moving up from middleweight, and is looking to continue that run.

Although he turns 37 next month, “Poatan” said he thinks his MMA journey is just getting started and sees plenty of growth coming from his part.

“I’m in a process of evolution,” Pereira said. “I’m new to MMA, and he’s an older guy (in the game), so I think he’s evolved a lot, but today his evolution is minimal, and mine, man, this is just the beginning.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 303.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie