On November 6, 2021, middleweight champion Alex Pereira faced off against Sean Strickland in the main event of UFC 268. The bout was a highly anticipated clash between two skilled strikers, with Pereira looking to defend his title and Strickland seeking to capture his first UFC championship. The fight was expected to be a thrilling stand-up battle, with both fighters known for their knockout power and aggressive styles.
Pereira, a former kickboxing champion, had made a name for himself in the UFC with his devastating striking and knockout victories. He had won his previous two fights by knockout, including a spectacular finish to former champion Robert Whittaker. Strickland, on the other hand, had been on a five-fight winning streak and was known for his relentless pressure and volume striking.
From the opening bell, Pereira came out aggressively, throwing a variety of kicks and punches and looking to land his trademark power shots. Strickland, however, was able to weather the early storm and began to establish his own offense, using his jab and combinations to keep Pereira at bay. The two fighters exchanged heavy shots throughout the first round, with both men landing some significant strikes.
In the second round, Pereira began to find his range and started to land more frequently with his powerful strikes. He connected with a hard left hook that staggered Strickland and followed up with a flurry of punches, but Strickland was able to survive the onslaught and continue fighting. As the round progressed, Pereira continued to press forward and land heavy shots, but Strickland showed his toughness and durability by absorbing the punishment and firing back with his own strikes.
In the third round, Strickland came out with renewed energy and began to push the pace, throwing more volume and pressuring Pereira against the cage. However, Pereira was still dangerous and landed some hard shots that briefly stunned Strickland. As the round wore on, Pereira began to slow down and Strickland was able to take advantage, landing more strikes and controlling the pace of the fight.
In the fourth round, Strickland continued to outwork Pereira, using his superior volume and conditioning to wear down the champion. He landed several significant strikes and was able to take Pereira down to the mat, where he landed some ground and pound before the round ended. Pereira appeared to be fading and in danger of losing his title.
In the fifth and final round, Pereira came out with renewed urgency, knowing that he needed a finish to win the fight. He pressed forward aggressively, throwing heavy shots and looking for the knockout blow. Strickland, however, was able to weather the storm and continued to land his own strikes, using his superior volume to keep Pereira at bay. As the round ended, both fighters raised their hands in victory, but it was clear that Strickland had done enough to win the fight.
In the end, the judges awarded Strickland a unanimous decision victory, with scores of 49-46, 49-46, and 48-47. The victory was a significant one for Strickland, who had proven himself as one of the top middleweights in the world and put himself in line for a title shot. For Pereira, it was a disappointing loss, but he had shown his toughness and striking prowess and would likely be back to challenge for the title once again.