Alex Pereira bought a bit of one thing further for saving the day at UFC 303.

That’s based on Pereira’s longtime coach Plinio Cruz, who revealed Monday on The MMA Hour that UFC CEO Dana White gave Pereira a $303,000 post-fight bonus following his profitable gentle heavyweight title protection at UFC 303. Pereira knocked out Jiri Prochazka with a brutal second-round head kick after accepting the bout on simply two weeks’ discover following the withdrawal of unique headliner Conor McGregor attributable to harm.

“He was talking to Dana in the back, and they were talking about a bunch of stuff, and Dana said, ‘As a matter of fact, you won Performance of the Night.’ And he said, ‘$303,000?’ He goes, ‘No, no, no, $50,000,’” Cruz defined Monday on The MMA Hour.

”But actuality of the actual fact is, he didn’t — they gave $300,000 bonuses for [UFC] 300 and [Pereira] didn’t get Performance of the Night. They gave two to Max [Holloway], so he was a bit of bit salty about that. And I feel due to all their historical past after which taking the struggle on two weeks’ [notice], Dana checked out him and mentioned, ‘You know what, man? I’m going to maintain you. You’ve bought the $303,000.’ He even joked, he mentioned purchase a supercar with that cash. [Pereira] goes, ‘I’ve bought sufficient supercars.’ He desires a Cybertruck.”

Pereira, 36, has now saved the day for UFC twice in a span of three months, having additionally defeated Jamahal Hill within the short-notice essential occasion of UFC 300 on April 13 to salvage the promotion’s well-documented efforts to discover a appropriate headliner for the tricentennial card.

But if the saga of UFC 300 was already a roller-coaster, UFC 303 might as nicely have been the Formula Rossa.

Cruz mentioned Pereira was nonetheless within the negotiation levels for a rematch in opposition to Prochazka on Aug. 17 at UFC 305 when promotion officers first broached the workforce about the potential of filling in for McGregor. Cruz admitted he was initially in opposition to the concept and advised as a lot to Pereira, nonetheless “Poatan” was prepared to simply accept instantly. By the next morning, all particulars had been ironed out and the impromptu title rematch had been made official.

Pereira beforehand defeated Prochazka by way of second-round TKO in November 2023 to seize the vacant gentle heavyweight belt, and Cruz mentioned he anticipated an extended struggle the second time round. That may’ve occurred, too, if it wasn’t for some last-second movie research.

“Alex is a much better standup fighter than Prochazka is, so we wanted to be patient,” Cruz mentioned. “I advised him, ‘Bro, let’s simply take the primary two rounds straightforward, let’s tempo ourselves.’ Because Jiri, the longer the struggle goes, he tends to let a bit of little bit of his stage of self-discipline decrease and he begins to throw stuff, he begins to get a bit of extra dangerous, he takes probabilities.

“And our game [plan] until the fight night was basically going over there, feel [out] the first two rounds, and push the pace as the fight goes, especially if Prochazka was going to maybe try to do a grappling match. We knew that none of them will be able to grind for five rounds, because it was week two of the camp, so the longer the fight goes, that’ll benefit Alex. And then it happened, that thing in the locker room.”

That factor within the locker room, as Cruz framed it, has already been etched into Pereira lore.

Both Pereira and Cruz revealed post-fight that they noticed the opening for the fight-ending head kick by scrolling Instagram in the locker room earlier than the bout. UFC’s social media workforce posted clips of each fighters warming up, and Pereira’s instantly workforce noticed the opening in Prochazka’s recreation plan. Cruz mentioned the adjustment was made lower than 20 minutes earlier than Pereira’s walkout. In the top, the champ’s pre-fight audible labored to perfection.

That locker room footage of Prochazka additionally stood in stark distinction to the vibe Pereira’s workforce introduced of their clip, which confirmed Pereira and his workforce casually line dancing.

Cruz suspects Pereira’s nonchalant but remarkably centered demeanor all through struggle week might have performed tips on Prochazka’s head, particularly after Prochazka made a degree to accuse Pereira of practising “black magic” earlier than their first bout at UFC 295.

“The dance was a magical ritual. That was doing witchcraft right before before the fight,” Cruz mentioned, laughing. “Man, I feel he bought a bit of bit in his head. You know what I imply? Alex has his indigenous background from his dad and mom. He likes to honor it and I respect him loads that he honors the the tradition of his folks, and I assist him to try this, I’m a giant supporter.

“I think that Jiri somehow might’ve got in his own head if he’s calling indigenous stuff as witchcraft and whatever. But that just played more on our side. That just helped him.”

Pereira is now 8-1 beneath the UFC umbrella, with six of these wins coming in opposition to both present or former champions. He stays the ninth UFC fighter to ever to win belts in two divisions, and chatter continues to persist about him in the future transferring as much as heavyweight in an effort to make historical past as the primary three-division champion in promotional historical past.

It’s been a whirlwind journey, and Cruz has ridden sidecar for all of it. The veteran coach has gone the purpose of doubting Pereira’s means to tug off something he units his thoughts to.

“[Pereira] has actually a very special vision [when it comes to] timing, distance, and the angles in the way that he [approaches his craft],” Cruz mentioned. “It’s almost like he has his own style of fighting. He just combines his boxing and the kickboxing, and the way that he just implements [everything] is just light years ahead, the vision that he has [for] the game.”

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