Khalil Rountree is feeling pretty confident these days. He reckons he’s earned a title shot, and who can blame him after his spectacular win over former title contender Anthony Smith?
The showdown happened at UFC Fight Night 233 last Saturday. It was a co-main event, and boy, did it deliver some fireworks.
Let’s backtrack a little. Rountree’s original opponent was Azamat Murzakanov. But the guy had to pull out due to pneumonia, and Smith stepped in on 15 days’ notice.
The fight? It was all Rountree. He outstruck “Lionheart” from the get-go. Then, early in the third round, he landed a brutal uppercut and left hook combo that knocked Smith out cold.
This win marked Rountree’s fifth consecutive victory. The “War Horse” is on a roll, with finishes against Modestas Bukauskas, Karl Roberson, and Chris Daukaus under his belt.
After his latest victory, Rountree didn’t hold back. He’s gunning for a title shot against Alex Pereira. But he’s also realistic. He knows there might be other hurdles to cross before he can make a gold bid.
In his post-fight Octagon interview, Rountree expressed his high hopes. “Las Vegas is the home of the UFC. And in my mind, I feel like it’s time to have a champion at home,” he said. Rountree’s now in the Top 10, and he’s got his sights set on Pereira.
But he’s also aware of other potential fights. “I know that I have other people that I have to possibly fight, but I know that’s a fight the fans would want to see. I think that from what I’ve seen, the fans would love to see that fight,” he added.
Rountree further justified his callout of “Poatan” during his post-fight media scrum. He believes it makes sense. “Two dynamic strikers, powerful strikers. I don’t plan to shoot any takedowns. I don’t think I’ve ever shot for a takedown in my career. I don’t think he is necessarily going to shoot for any takedowns because the guy’s a warrior,” Rountree said.
So, there you have it. Rountree wants Pereira. And he thinks the fans would love to see that fight. Only time will tell if he gets his wish.