08 Nov - 
UFC Fight Night 139 co-main event breakdown: Someone's getting finished in the first

MMAjunkie Radio co-host and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom breaks down the UFC’s top bouts. Today, we look at the co-main event for UFC Fight Night 139.

UFC Fight Night 139 takes place Saturday at Pepsi Center in Denver. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Also see:

Donald Cerrone (33-11 MMA, 20-8 UFC)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 35 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 73″
  • Last fight: Decision loss to Leon Edwards (June 23, 2018)
  • Camp: BMF Ranch (New Mexico)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox/muay Thai
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:

+ Multiple muay Thai titles
^ 28-0 as a pro kickboxer
+ 9 KO victories
+ 16 submission wins
+ 14 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Intelligent strike setups
^ Feints, reads, reacts
+ Devastating head kicks
+ Accurate and intercepting knees
+ Hard leg kicks
^ Most landed in UFC history
+ Underrated wrestling ability
+ Excellent transitional grappler

Mike Perry (12-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 27 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 71″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Paul Felder(July 7, 2018)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox/muay Thai
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:

+ Regional MMA titles
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt
+ 11 KO victories
+ 7 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Solid boxing technique
^ Heavy right-hand and left hook
+ Dangerous knees and elbows
^ Strikes well off of the breaks
+ Strong inside the clinch
^ Deceptive base and balance
+ Improved ground game/transitions
^ Bails or re-wrestles when appropriate
+ Effective ground striker

Point of interest: Pressure’s always on

The co-main event in Denver features a matchup that, for multiple reasons, will likely feel like a pressure-cooker for each fighter – especially while the action resides on the feet.

Donald Cerrone – the more pronounced muay Thai striker – embraces his kickboxing base, using leg kicks and teeps from a distance. Mixing in his punches appropriately to both the head and body, Cerrone will draw out his opponent’s defenses to set up the fight-ending head kicks that comprise his highlight reel.

In recent years, the 12-year pro has proven to provide much more than kicks and knees standing, showing strides in his ability to connect punches inside the pocket or in combination.

Under the care of Brandon Gibson, the current iteration of Cerrone has him moving his head and torso offline and at angles, unloading his punches with different mechanics than before. Often punching his way out of exchanges with his left hook, Cerrone will feed his newfound flow into his patented head kicks, displaying an arsenal that’s much more symbiotic than before.

Still, the man known as “Cowboy” has traditionally struggled with fighters who can pressure early, which is what makes a matchup with Mike Perry so compelling.

An interesting dichotomy between a hard-nosed bruiser and eccentric artist (yes, I use that term loosely), it can be easy to get lost in the polarizing ways of Perry, who looks like the second coming of Gary Oldman’s character in “True Romance.”

But truth be told: There is much more than meets the eye when it comes to the 27-year-old’s depth of skills.

Doing his best work when coming forward, Perry is an unabashed puncher who is looking to punish his opposition in every exchange. Working behind improved feints and footwork, Perry applies pressure that is palpable, looking to create openings and angles to slip and rip his way inside.

Despite keeping a low standing guard, Perry does a good job of inherently blocking his body while goading his opponent into attempting a headshot. Backed by a granite chin, the two-time performance of the night winner keeps his right hand and left hook counters at the ready, retaliating at the drop of a dime. But with his last two camps spent at Jackson-Wink MMA, I will be curious to see if Perry’s trends of improvements continue into this matchup.

I will also be interested in seeing how these two interact inside of the clinch, a space that typically serves as a danger zone for both men.

From elbows off the break to head kicks off of separations, both fighters demonstrate an acumen for close-quarter combat, seldom turning down an opportunity to tangle and trade. So, with that in mind, I suspect that the man who controls the ins and outs of these exchanges will be looking good early.

Next point of interest: Grappling reminders