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UFC on FOX 25 fight card: Dennis Bermudez vs Darren Elkins preview

MMA: UFC 209-Elkins vs Bektic Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight veterans Dennis Bermudez and Darren Elkins will collide this Saturday (July 22, 2017) at UFC on FOX 25 inside Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.

At this point in his career, Bermudez is a top 10 athlete who’s suffered too many hard losses to easily break into the title mix. On the bright side, Bermudez is a proven scrapper who’s never been in a boring fight, win or lose.

Meanwhile, the future is surprisingly open for Darren Elkins. Most wrote him off following a tough 2014, but a relocation to Sacramento and Team Alpha Male have spurred him to four straight wins. In his last bout, Elkins scored one of the best come-from-behind knockouts of all time, and he’ll look to build from that momentum here.

Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each man.

Dennis Bermudez

Record: 16-5

Key Wins: Max Holloway (UFC 160), Clay Guida (UFC on FOX 12), Tatsuya Kawajiri (UFC Fight Night 83), Rony Jason (UFC Fight Night 92)

Key Losses: Chan Sung Jung (UFC Fight Night 104), Ricardo Lamas (UFC 180), Jeremy Stephens (UFC 189), Diego Brandao (TUF 14 Finale)

Keys to Victory: Bermudez is a hard-nosed wrestler with some dangerous boxing and punishing low kicks. He also pushes a nasty pace and is a physically punishing fighter. There’s a reason Bermudez tends to dominate or finish his opponents, as he doesn’t shy away from the fight.

In this bout, Bermudez would be wise to watch the Mirsad Bektic fight a few times. Bektic was definitely putting a beating on Elkins, but his inability to set a pace that he could maintain came back to bite him. By the third round, he was tired, and a moment of laziness allowed Elkins to sleep him.

If Bermudez goes wild early and Elkins is still there at the end, he could find himself in a similar situation.

Instead, Bermudez would be smart to draw Elkins into a firefight and capitalize with takedowns. He’ll have a speed advantage, and that should result in possible takedowns if Elkins is swinging to knock him out.

Assuming Bermudez is fighting with the decision in mind, takedowns will be key.

Darren Elkins

Record: 22-5

Key Wins: Mirsad Bektic (UFC 209), Chas Skelly (UFC 196), Hatsu Hioki (UFC Fight Night 27), Diego Brandao (UFC 146)

Key Losses: Chad Mendes (UFC on FOX 7), Jeremy Stephens (UFC on FOX 10), Hacran Dias (UFC Fight Night 58)

Keys to Victory: Elkins is a tough bastard. He’s also a large wrestler with an endless gas tank, and lately he’s looked more dangerous with his punches. That culminated in his recent knockout win — his first since 2013 — but even in the pair of bouts before that Elkins’ ground strikes did real damage and wore his foes down.

Both men push a high pace, but Elkins has durability on his side. In each exchange, the chance the Bermudez lands a clean power punches is higher. However, the chance that Elkins’ power punch knocks Bermudez out is quite a bit higher than “The Menace” flattening him.

He may have to take some shots, but that’s nothing abnormal for “The Damage.” If he lands a knockout at the end of this brawl, then it will surely be worth it.

Otherwise, Elkins is quite a bit taller and longer than Bermudez. If he can fire some straight punches down the middle as Bermudez advances, his chances of catching the New Yorker with a fight-changing shot increases.

Bottom Line: It’s another excellent scrap on a card full of competitive battles.

This is definitely an interesting fight for Bermudez, who tends to lose to the division’s best pretty clearly and then maul anyone outside the rankings. Elkins is currently between those two positions, and the closest example of a fighter in that position in Bermudez’s fight history was Jeremy Stephens. That fight was an instant classic with a crazy finish, and this one could follow suit.

If Bermudez wins, he bounces back from the “Korean Zombie” knockout loss and is ready for another top 10 foe. Alternatively, a loss means that Bermudez may face a step back in competition next.

As for Elkins, his win streak and knockout of Bektic have earned him an extra bit of push. This is his first main card slot in a long time, and it’s because more people than ever are following his career. If “The Damage” can extend his win streak to five in the co-main event, it may earn him a top five challenge in his next appearance. If not, Elkins’ position remains the same, but he does lose some forward momentum.

At UFC on FOX 25, Dennis Bermudez and Darren Elkins will square off. Which fighter will have his hand raised?

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