The Prelim Breakout Star is a once per event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented guy on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
After 200 editions of this column, you would thing that I’d get sick of writing about the unknown. However, the opposite is true in this case. It seems like every site out there has something to say about Khabib Nurmagomedov or Francis Ngannou at the moment and a Conor McGregor story around the corner. Even after years of looking at similar ideas, it’s always nice to give back to the guy trying to make it big. Here’s one from this weekend’s card that we think has a solid chance to do so.
Nickname – The Steamrolla
Affiliation – Gracie Tampa South
From – Huntington, New York
Height – 5’9″
Weight – 155 lbs (Lightweight)
Record – 6-0 (0-0 UFC)
What makes him impressive
I can’t get enough of these Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series veterans. I’m not sure there’s ever been a more proven way of getting top notch prospects. In a relatively small sample size, those award contracts on the show hold a combined UFC record of 5-1.
But here’s what makes Matt Frevola an easy pick here; in his Contender Series bout, he showed that he is truly well-rounded. It took him less than 30 seconds to show off his hands have power as he tagged Jose Flores. Flores’s eventual recovery may have been for the best for Frevola, who then got to show off his takedowns, which had slick entries and resilience in finishing them. To top it all off, he showed his jiu jitsu skills by taking the back of Flores in the first and finishing him with an arm triangle in the second.
Why he has been overlooked
The Contender Series got plenty of publicity. As the word spread, MMA fans flocked to the show. However, I’m still not sure of it’s ability to get that publicity to fighters on a long term. While The Ultimate Fighter seems like a dated concept, it has more immediacy. The finale is right after the last episode. On the other hand, Frevola is fighting four months after the last time we saw him. Time will tell how quick the hype can return.
What makes this a good match-up
Marco Polo Reyes has some crazy good power, but it seems that he’s living and dying by his ability to knock people out. In his first two bouts, he was able to starch his opponents in relatively quick fashion. When the next fight went the distance with a UFC newcomer, he struggled for a split decision win. With how diverse Frevola’s attacks are and how relentless he is, I doubt he fights Reyes’s fight, and the ground game discrepancy is pretty heavy here.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 134-57-1 (2 NC) (6 DNF)