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Luke Rockhold vs. Mike Perry full fight preview | BKFC 41

UFC 278: Costa v Rockhold Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Accomplished slugger, Mike Perry, will step up in weight to challenge former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight kingpin, Luke Rockhold, TONIGHT (Sat., April 29, 2023) at Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) 41 inside 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado.

Perry has really found a home outside UFC in the boxing world. He’s scored big wins in the ring with and without gloves, becoming more and more well-known after ending his UFC career on a sour note. He nearly scored a Jake Paul money fight as well! It really feels like “Platinum” is thriving, but he’s got a real challenge ahead of him here. Rockhold, meanwhile, has never been known as a precise boxer, but he’s significantly larger than Perry and can certainly crack. He proved in his last UFC showing against Paulo Costa that he still has competitive fire, and he seems really excited to venture into the unknown territory that bareknuckle boxing provides.

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

Luke Rockhold

MMA Record: 16-6
Key Wins: Chris Weidman (UFC 194), Ronaldo Souza (Strikeforce: Barnett vs Kharitonov), Lyoto Machida (UFC on FOX 15), Tim Kennedy (Strikeforce: Rockhold vs Kennedy), Dave Branch (UFC Fight Night 116)
Key Losses: Michael Bisping (UFC 199), Paulo Costa (UFC 278), Yoel Romero (UFC 221), Vitor Belfort (UFC on FX 8), Jan Blachowicz (UFC 239)
Keys to Victory: Rockhold rose to the top of the Middleweight ranks by being a tremendous athlete with elite Brazilian jiu-jitsu and one of the best left kicks in the business. None of that will help him in the ring, however, where his best weapon is likely to be his trusty check right hook.

Rockhold has to make use of his range advantage here. Perry is coming up in weight, and thus will probably have a solid speed advantage. The answer to that is to keep his weight back, make it difficult for Perry to close forward, and punish his wide swings with precise counter shots.

Rockhold’s check hook is legitimately dangerous, but it cannot be his sole weapon here. Back when he fought Yoel Romero, Rockhold’s boxing was at its best. He was doubling up on the jab, touching the body, and pivoting off after his combinations. All of that would be ideal against Perry, who is going to feel it each time a 200+ pound Rockhold connects with his face, sans gloves.

Mike Perry

Records: 14-8 (MMA), 2-0 (BKFC), 1-0 (Triad Combat), 0-1 (Boxing)
Key Wins: Michael Page (BKFC 27), Michael Seals (Triad), Paul Felder (UFC 226), Jake Ellenberger (UFC Fight Night 108)
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 a savage. He’s got great fighting instincts, a rock solid jawline, and major power in both hands. It’s no wonder he’s thriving in the world of bare knuckle — Perry is quite literally built to scrap.

As mentioned above, range is the big problem for Perry here. He’s facing a significant height and reach disadvantage, and Rockhold is surely going to be trying to stick him with long, straight shots. Perry is pretty dang good at tanking damage, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best strategy.

Instead, I’d like to see Perry feinting more and trying to draw big swings from Rockhold. If he can convince Rockhold to punch air, the former champion isn’t the best at bringing his hands back to his chin. That’s Perry’s best opportunity to close forward, follow his punches back in, and try to crowd the bigger man with combinations.

Bottom Line

This is an absolute freak show of a main event. I love it!

Rockhold seems thrilled with bare knuckle life, but he has yet to actually step into the ring, which I would imagine could change his perspective. This is actually a reasonable debut for the former champion: a smaller but more accomplished boxer. Likely, victory lines him up for a shot at BKFC gold, whereas defeat likely sets him up for more super fights against other well-known names.

As for Perry, victory would arguably be his biggest scalp yet, as well as improve his post-UFC record to 4-0 in all forms of combat sports. He should be fairly close to his own BKFC title shot, but also, Perry could soon secure a more major payday by winding up in a celebrity boxing match.

At BKFC 41, Luke Rockhold and Mike Perry will battle in the main event. Which man remains standing when the dust settles?

For complete BKFC 41 results, including play-by-play updates, click here.

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