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UFC on FOX 28 card: Mike Perry vs Max Griffin full fight preview

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Winnipeg-Ponzinibbio vs Perry Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight knockout artists Mike Perry and Max Griffin will throw down this Saturday (Feb. 24, 2018) at UFC on FOX 28 inside Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

Perry made it to UFC extremely early in his professional career and immediately showed his potential with a big knockout win. He has suffered a pair of setbacks since, but Perry has shown steady improvement throughout his UFC career, recently going to war with a Top 10-ranked fighter and nearly pulling out ahead. On the other hand, Griffin’s start to his UFC career has not been ideal (1-2), but he showed a ton of heart and grit last time out in a “Fight of the Night”-winning brawl despite ultimately losing the decision. That performance earned him this high-profile opportunity opposite Perry, although it does put some extra pressure on “Pain.”

Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both men:

Mike Perry
Record: 11-2
Key Wins: Jake Ellenberger (UFC Fight Night 108), Hyun Gyu Lim (UFC 202), Danny Roberts (UFC 204)
Key Losses: Santiago Ponzinibbio (UFC on FOX 26), Alan Jouban (UFC on FOX 22)
Keys to Victory: Perry is an athletic beast with a great talent for violence. His technical game is still in development, but Perry has already shown sharper head movement and a more varied offensive since his earlier UFC bouts.

Once again, Perry will be facing off with a knockout artist looking to remain out of the pocket with him. Griffin will have a height and reach advantage, and he’ll most likely try to stab at Perry as he comes forward with jabs and crosses. Prior to his fatigue, Perry did an excellent job of slipping Ponzinibbio’s jab and firing afterward. This bout will be another test of that skill, as Perry has to work his way inside to be effective.

In addition, I’d like to see Perry continue to kick effectively. His lead kick worked very well opposite Ellenberger, and it’s important that Perry has some weapon at range even if his goal is to move closer. If Perry is kicking and slipping, he should be able to find his way into the pocket and land some heavy blows.

VS.

Max Griffin
Record: 13-4
Key Wins: David Mitchell (West Coast Fighting 16), Erick Montano (TUF Latin American 3 Finale), Ricky Legere (Tachi Palace Fights 21)
Key Losses: Colby Covington (UFC 202), Elizeu Zoleski dos Santos (UFC Fight Night 119)
Keys to Victory: Griffin is a rangy boxer with seven knockout victories to his name. Though his defense failed him opposite Covington, Griffin is generally a difficult man to take down and control, leaving most of his opponent’s forced to trade with him.

Thankfully, Perry is unlikely to look for many takedown attempts here.

Overall, Griffin is a fighter who’s willing to brawl, but he must restrain himself there. Griffin definitely hits hard, but Perry might be the heaviest puncher at 170 lbs., and he’s never been knocked out. That’s not to say Griffin couldn’t win a wild exchange, but the odds are against him on paper. Instead, Griffin needs to make full use of his range. The jab is an obvious tool, but Ponzinibbio did great work in slowing Perry with low kicks. If Griffin is wise, he’ll do the same, as cutting into Perry’s knockout power and athleticism would be a great investment.

Bottom Line: It’s likely to be violent.

Win or lose, Perry doesn’t really hang back. He’s going to do his best to force the issue, either smashing Griffin or trying so hard to do so that he leaves a massive opening for his opponent to counter. Griffin himself is an entertaining fighter as well, which practically guarantees this main card opener starts the night off right.

For Perry, it’s a chance to get back on track. He’s already established himself as one of the division’s premiere action fighters, but he’d prefer to be ranked and making a run toward the top. He’ll need another win streak to accomplish those goals, and that begins opposite Griffin. On the other hand, Griffin may well be fighting for his UFC career. He has a style the UFC tends to keep around, but there’s no guarantee if he comes up short opposite “Platinum.” At the same time, a victory here would undoubtedly be the biggest of his career, so it’s a high-risk, high-reward night for Max Griffin.

At UFC on FOX 28, Mike Perry and Max Griffin will open the main card. Which fighter will remain standing when the dust settles?