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.
This segment seems to bounce between former Cage Warrior champions and Dana White’s Contender Series veterans. While it’s not by design, we stay with that theme this week. Since last week was a Cage Warrior champion…
Nickname – Dynamite
Affiliation – Xtreme Couture
From – Honolulu, Hawaii
Height – 5’7″
Weight – 145 lbs (Featherweight)
Record – 8-2 (0-1 UFC)
What makes him impressive
The grappling chops are the first thing that come to mind when you think about Dan Ige. He has a black belt in jiu jitsu and a brown belt in judo. While that alone is not enough to make him a tough MMA grappler, his skills do transition well to the cage. On top of that he has a lot of aggression that keeps his opponents moving backwards. This often sets up takedowns against the cage and lets him sap the energy out of his opponents.
Why he has been overlooked
Ige got a tough debut in the UFC against Julio Arce (who recently picked up his second UFC victory). Not only is Arce a quality opponent, but he’s the type of opponent who typically would give Ige trouble. Coming from a boxing background, Arce’s footwork is exceptional. He cut angles and made it such that Ige could not work him backwards or up against the cage. Ige will need to work on this, but he’s unlikely to run into someone like Arce again for a while.
What makes this a good match-up
Mike Santiago is a lot closer to Ige in terms of style. He loves to move forward and he loves to grapple. This already improves Ige’s likelihood of success in his sophomore effort as he’ll be getting the fight he wants. Santiago also has had trouble with fighters who can wrestle him back. In his first two bouts he lost to Mads Burnell and Zabit Magomedsharipov by being outworked in the wrestling department. Ige is perhaps not on the level of either of those two, but should have more than enough grappling chops to get the job done here.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 143-64-1 (2 NC) (6 DNF)