Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweights Anthony Perosh and Sean O'Connell will battle this Saturday (May 9, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 65 inside Adelaide Entertainment Center in Adelaide, Australia, live on UFC Fight Pass.
Perosh is a mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran and has been finding success lately despite being in his forties. The Australian jiu-jitsu specialist is looking to break into the top 15, and a victory here may earn him that position.
O'Connell may not be the most technical or athletic fighter around, but he's proven to be a tough bastard. After a quick loss to Ryan Jimmo in his debut, O'Connell has put forth back-to-back "Fight of the Night" worthy performances, including a violent knockout win over Matt Van Buren.
Let's take a closer look at the keys to victory for each fighter.
Key Wins: Vinny Magalhaes (UFC 163), Guto Innocente (UFC Fight Night 55), Cyrille Diabate (UFC 138)
Key Losses: Ryan Bader (UFC Fight Night 33), Ryan Jimmo (UFC 149)
Keys to Victory: Perosh is very obviously a ground fighter. While he can punch fairly hard -- ask Magalhaes -- he's commonly looking to move into a dominant position and latch onto his opponent's neck, as "The Hippo" has earned 10 submission victories.
The jiu-jitsu black belt usually looks to move into the clinch within the first minute of the fight. From there, he'll force his opponent up against the fence and attempt to drag him to the mat. Despite the simplicity of this game plan, Perosh has generally found quite a bit of success with it when not facing an elite opponent.
Since O'Connell cannot count himself among the division's elite, Perosh should look to bring his standard attack in this match up. O'Connell has multiple losses by submission to relatively unknown fights, and he's not a veteran wrestler or anything, so there's no reason for Perosh to switch up his style.
Prior to closing the distance, Perosh needs to keep his guard high and hands tight to his chin. He was a bit over-eager against Jimmo, and that cost him the fight before it ever got started. O'Connell certainly has the power to make him pay in similar fashion, so Perosh needs to be wary.
So long as Perosh follows his standard game plan and is defensively aware, he should be at an advantage in this fight.
Key Wins: Matt Van Buren (UFC Fight Night 59), Marvin Eastman (Showdown Fights 12)
Key Losses: Ryan Jimmo (TUF: Nations Finale), Gian Villante (UFC Fight Night 43)
Keys to Victory: O'Connell is a straight up brawler. Like his opponent, O'Connell's game plan is no secret, as he's looking to walk his opponent down and throw bombs.
So far, it's put eight of his opponents to sleep.
In his last bout, O'Connell proved that his power lasts deep into the fight. After two rounds of largely getting countered and just missing his overhand, "The Real OC" finally connected with his big right hand and put Van Buren down hard.
That may be important in this fight. Perosh has shown to be very successful with his clinch takedowns early on, but there's likely a good reason the Australian has never won a decision. If O'Connell is able to survive early ground exchanges, the momentum could shift in his favor.
In order to stay off his back, O'Connell should look to push the action. If he's the one moving forward, his back isn't on the fence. In addition, Perosh may panic and open up on his feet if pressured, which would be very beneficial for O'Connell.
Bottom Line: While neither man is likely to ever break into the top 10, this fight should provide an entertaining style match up between two finishers.
Perosh is 5-2 in his current UFC light heavyweight run, which is pretty astounding on its own. Though losses made his ceiling clear, he recently called out Fabio Maldonado, eyeing his position in the top 15. If the Aussie can dispatch his opponent, he at least deserves a match against someone in the bottom half of the top 15.
On the other hand, a loss would continue Perosh's streak of alternating wins and losses. In short, his position really wouldn't change. Perosh may be old, but he's dominant in his specific skill set, and that's enough to beat at least the bottom half of the light heavyweight division.
While O'Connell is not likely to be cut -- both due to his violent style and the division's lack of depth -- this win is definitely important for him. If he's defeated by the veteran, O'Connell likely only has one more chance inside the Octagon.
Should O'Connell prove victorious, then he's earned another few fights inside the Octagon. His short-notice debut is excusable, and his loss to Villante was very close. Suddenly, his UFC record wouldn't look so bad, and O'Connell could find himself in a more high-profile bout.
At UFC Fight Night 65, Anthony Perosh and Sean O'Connell will collide. Which fighter will earn the victory?