UFC welterweight Michel Pereira is dealing with a DUI case in Las Vegas, MMA Fighting has learned. He will not be able to fight Santiago Ponzinibbio in the UFC Vegas 55 co-main event on Saturday at UFC APEX.
Speaking with MMA Fighting on Wednesday, Pereira said the situation “is already being handled by my lawyer.” The incident happened sometime between his previous UFC fight, a decision victory over Andre Fialho on Jan. 22, and a recent trip to Brazil in mid-March. Pereira said that he can’t remember the date.
Pereira added he’s also not to blame for the situation. The 28-year-old welterweight said he was asleep in the passenger’s seat while a friend was driving the car, and when he woke up, he thought the car had crashed; Pereira said his friend told him it was a close call.
“I fell asleep in Las Vegas on a beautiful sunny day, and I glanced at my car to see nothing [in regards to damage],” Pereira had said. “I told him, ‘I’ve rested enough already, give me the car and I’ll drive.’ The police pulled me over some time later and did all the procedures and asked me about the crash. The crash was there when I saw it. I almost felt depressed.
“He came and did the breathalyzer test. It was exactly the same as the limit because I had drunk too much the day before. He told me, “You have to go with me for six hours to ensure [the level] is down .”
Pereira claimed that he passed the test a few days later. Pereira claims that he passed the test and his lawyer will handle the matter now.
MMA Fighting could not verify Pereira’s alleged story immediately. A search for court records under Pereira’s name did not return any hits.
Pereira fled the U.S. shortly after the DUI to travel to Para, Brazil. He had issues getting visas when he tried to return to U.S.A with his wife. Pereira said his visa issue was not related to the DUI but rather staying longer than six months in the U.S. with a tourist visa.
Pereira was trained in Belem to fight Ponzinibbio at welterweight and is “very ready” for this contest.
” I want to fight best. So, I train to be the best welterweight fighters,” Pereira stated. Pereira said that Ponzinibbio, a very talented fighter with a well-known name in UFC. He’s more Brazilian-American than Argentine and I do not like fighting Brazilians. — but he’s in my way. To be champion I must fight for the top division.
“This fight will prove I deserve to be in the top 15. Ponzinibbio is very tough, so I’ll prove to a lot of people I’m capable of being there. I’m very fortunate to have the UFC as a source of many opportunities. It’s great that they like my work .”
Pereira arrives at UFC Vegas 55 on a four-fight winning streak over Andre Fialho, Niko Price, Khaos Williams and Zelim Imadaev, while Ponzinibbio looks to rebound from a split decision setback to Geoff Neal in December. Pereira stated that they were “two outstanding strikers” and this fight is sure to be a smashing .”
” I don’t think it will last three rounds. We have everything we need to win each other. Pereira stated. It’s going be a battle. He’s a very skilled boxer, and he is a powerful and aggressive guy. However, I have seen many holes in his game and will try to exploit them to my advantage. He’s likely seen the same things in mine, so I’m sure it will be an interesting .”