Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight knockout artists Mike Perry and Alex Reyes will collide this Saturday (Sept. 16, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 116 inside PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“Platinum” is here to ruin lives. I bring it up every time I am fortunate enough to write about this insane brawler, but his success is remarkable. Despite largely training himself and working with coaches at a generic UFC gym, Perry brutalized seven opponents and earned his way into the UFC in less than two years.
Perry was supposed to face Alves, but complications with Hurricane Irma kept the Brazilian away from the cage. Filling his shoes will be Alex Reyes, older brother of UFC Light Heavyweight Dominick Reyes, who carries an excellent win streak into this bout.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Jake Ellenberger (UFC Fight Night 108), Hyun Gyu Lim (UFC 202), Danny Roberts (UFC 204)
Key Losses: Alan Jouban (UFC on FOX 22)
Keys to Victory: Prior to Perry’s most recent win, his skill set was pretty established. Perry was an athletic bruiser, willing to take a punch to land one, but still skilled enough in regards to timing and a natural ability to find fight-ending shots. Against Jake Ellenberger, Perry showed more developed range striking, working his way into the pocket rather than taking shots.
That will be key here.
Reyes has some power in his hands, but he’s also a Lightweight. Odds are, he will be completely unwilling to engage with Perry in a firefight unless forced. He’ll very likely attempt to replicate Alan Jouban’s strategy, which consisted of maintaining distance and hitting Perry as he tried to close it.
With Perry’s new focus on jabbing his way in and range kicks, he should be able to prevent that. If he keeps the pressure on and doesn’t get sloppy, there’s no reason that Perry doesn’t score an 11th knockout win.
Key Wins: Victor Meza (KOTC: Fisticuffs)
Key Losses: None, Reyes hasn’t lost since 2007
Keys to Victory: Former Lightweight champion of the respectable regional promotion King of the Cage, Reyes has won 13 straight fights to earn this opportunity. He’s yet to see the judges in victory, having won nine fights via knockout and the remaining four by strangulation.
Reyes added his most recent knockout win to his record less than a month ago.
Reyes looks to be a solid addition to the UFC Lightweight division, but this is a hell of a first fight. Perry is a full-size Welterweight with the power of a much larger man, and he’s thus far undefeated in brawls, which is a situation that Reyes usually thrives in. Normally, I would advise that Reyes look to maintain range and out-point Perry, but it’s going to be difficult to win a decision against a bigger man on such short-notice.
Reyes pretty much has to knock out Perry early. His best chance to do so is to circle a lot early, hope Perry over-extends, and time him with a big punch or high kick.
Bottom Line: This was a big opportunity for Perry, but now it’s a risky fight that at best builds his highlight reel a bit.
Having won three of four fights inside the Octagon, Perry is coming dangerously close to a spot in the rankings, especially since Ellenberger was at No. 13 when Perry decimated him. Had he fought Alves, there’s a fair chance he would’ve earned a spot. Now, he’s looking to do something violent and hopefully set himself up for a top-ranked opponent next.
As for Reyes, it’s an entrance into UFC. It may come at the cost of a very possible knockout loss — which wouldn’t really hurt his position at 155 pounds (just hurt his face) — but there’s also a chance that Reyes can flip the script and catch Perry. After all, Perry himself stepped up on very short-notice just about a year ago to violently upset an established UFC Welterweight, so both men should be aware it’s a real possibility.
At UFC Fight Night 116, Mike Perry and Alex Reyes will face off in the co-main event. Which man will have his hand raised?