Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight sluggers Mike Perry and Tim Means will brawl this weekend (Sat., Nov. 21, 2020) at UFC 255 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Perry has been unable to string together consecutive victories since 2017, and that inconsistency has entirely halted his rise up the ranks. In defense of “Platinum,” he has fought tough competition and enters this bout following a victory. Ultimately, it remains to be seen if his chaotic personal life will remain separate from his fights. Means has been dealing with his own struggles. The famously durable veteran has lost and been finished in two of his last four bouts, taking some heavy shots in the process. Fortunately, his offense at least seems dynamic as ever.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Alex Oliveira (UFC Fight Night 150), Paul Felder (UFC 226), Jake Ellenberger (UFC Fight Night 108), Danny Roberts (UFC 204)
Key Losses: Geoff Neal (UFC 245), Vicente Luque (UFC Fight Night 155), Santiago Ponzinibbio (UFC on FOX 26), Donald Cerrone (UFC Fight Night 139),
Keys to Victory: Perry is an athlete with great instincts for combat, serious natural power, and a fairly iron chin; however, he’s failed to develop much beyond that. His power punching remains unfortunately flat-footed, though at least Perry has been more willing to demonstrate his genuine grappling skill.
This is a strange match up for Perry. On one hand, Perry thrives when faced with athletes who are even somewhat hittable, a description which certainly applies to Means even at his best. However, Perry has also struggled mightily with rangy snipers, which also applies to “The Dirty Bird.”
As always, the key for Perry is to force the issue without getting hit too much in the process. Perry is at his best when kicking from range actively and using those strikes to set up his lunging shots, rather than simply moving forward behind the shield of his face. Against Means, driving into a takedown might also be smart. Perry stands a fair chance at finishing the shot, and if he doesn’t, he’ll likely land in his preferred punching range anyway.
Record: 30-12 (1)
Key Wins: Thiago Alves (UFC on ESPN 7), Alex Garcia (UFC Fight Night 112), John Howard (UFC Fight Night 80), George Sullivan (UFC on FOX 15), Dhiego Lima (UFC 184)
Key Losses: Niko Price (UFC Fight Night 146), Daniel Rodriguez (UFC Fight Night 167), Alex Oliveira (UFC Fight Night 106), Matt Brown (UFC 189)
Keys to Victory: An aggressive Southpaw with lots of tricks up his sleeve, Means breaks down opponents with a multi-level attack to the legs, body, and head. He mixes knees and elbows into his offense far better than most, making trading with Means a complicated and risky proposition.
Means has to be a bit more cautious in this match up. In his two most recent losses, Means was doing well, leading the dance against both Price and Rodriguez. Then, a wide counter shot clubbed him upside the head. Price put him down for good, and Rodriguez hurt him to the point that Means was unable to recover back into the fight.
Perry has the power and counter punching instinct to replicate those results.
To avoid such a fight, Means has to be willing to adjust. Perry has a proven problem against foes willing to circle laterally and fire straight shots. Means has the experience and kickboxing skill to change his strategy and give Perry fits — he really needs to make the conscious choice to make it boring rather than step into the danger zone willingly.
It’s an action fight likely to end early.
I have been a firm believer in Perry’s talent pretty much since the beginning, but even I am off that train. Until Perry can show consistency and growth inside the Octagon, while also refraining from punching senior citizens outside of it (watch), it’s impossible to believe that Perry will develop into more than a mid-level Welterweight.
Hopefully, this bout can mark such a change. He’s with a new camp and can begin a win streak if successful, so victory over Means could prove a turning point ... just don’t hold your breath yet.
As for Means, it has been four years for “The Dirty Bird” since he last put more than one victory together. He’s been fighting for a long time, and while his performances are not yet at the point where retirement is looking necessary, he does appear to be inching towards the end. Fortunately, A high-profile win against a known name like Perry to make it two straight would help delay that eventuality by a considerable amount of time.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 255 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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At UFC 255, Mike Perry and Tim Means will go to war. Which man will remain standing when the dust settles?