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 fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
After a lull in the action, the UFC is finally back and so is your favorite undercard breakdown. This week we tackle yet another fighter who got to the show with a last minute fill-in.
Nickname – Maluko
Affiliation – Gracie Fusion
From – Sao Paulo, Brazil
Height – 6’1″
Weight – 185 lbs (Middleweight)
Record – 8-1 (0-1 UFC)
What makes him impressive
A lot of guys with only 8 fights before being signed to the UFC have great records, but tend to have a lower tier of competition before being signed. This isn’t the case with Perez, who sports a perfect 8-0 record outside of the UFC in which strength of schedule is a bragging point. In his last three fights before signing with the UFC he beat the current LFA middleweight champion (Ian Heinisch) and two UFC veterans (Paulo Thiago and Ildemar Alcantara). Furthermore, he showed his durability by going 25 minutes with Thiago in a title fight in Brazil, which he took by decision.
Why he has been overlooked
As with many fighters, a short notice fight is your ticket into the big time. However, it also leads to unfavorable matchups and little time to prepare for them. Perez took his short notice fight against fast rising Eryk Anders at Fight Night: Swanson vs Ortega. Although he took a beating in that fight, he did show that he is durable while going all 15 minutes with the former Alabama linebacker.
What makes this a good match-up
James Bochnovic seems to have holes in every area that is a bragging point for Perez. Perez has a strong strength of schedule; Bochnovic’s average pre-UFC opponent was 7-10. Perez has great durability; Bochnovic was stopped in both of his career losses, including a TKO in his UFC debut. This I think winds up being the largest difference maker. If these two wind up trading punch for punch, which is definitely a possibility, Perez can survive and thrive.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 140-63-1 (2 NC) (6 DNF)