At first, Alex Perez didn’t even know how to pronounce the name of his next preferred opponent following a submission win over Jordan Espinosa at UFC Fight Night 166 in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday night.
Nonetheless, the message was clear enough. Perez was watching Askar Askarov’s victory over Tim Elliott at UFC 246 the previous week, and he believes that 27-year-old Dagestani would be an ideal dance partner for his next Octagon appearance. Once he had a little bit more time to compose himself, Perez selected a date and venue for the contest.
“I’d like Askar Askarov next. He’s a wrestler, I’m a wrestler and we both like to stand, so why not?” Perez said. “I’d love to get on that Khabib vs. Tony Ferguson card. That’d give me a little break and then come back ready to work.”
The card Perez suggests is UFC 249, which takes place on at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 18 and is headlined by a lightweight title bout between reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
Perez earned the right to call his shot based on an unorthodox finish of Espinosa. The Team Oyama representative was able to lock in an arm-triangle and render his opponent unconscious without even passing to the correct side. Apparently, the squeeze was tight enough in half guard.
“Jordan is great, probably one of the tougher opponents I’ve had to go up against. His style is crazy,” Perez said. “The position I got him with was a little unorthodox, but I just felt that it was tight enough, so I kept my squeeze going and put him out. I practice my squeeze all the time. I burn my arms out and then go through those sequences. I was ready if he survived. I was ready for war, but I’ll take this for sure.”
After earning a UFC deal on Dana White’s Contender Series in August 2017, Perez has been victorious in five of his first six Octagon appearances. Three of those victories have come at flyweight.