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 one of the most intensely packed MMA weeks of the year, some might be turned off by a local card in Boise. However, in addition to the return of Junior dos Santos to a crowded heavyweight picture, there’s a lot to like on this card.
Mark De La Rosa
Nickname – The Bumblebee
Affiliation – Genesis BJJ
From – Anaheim, California
Height – 5’4″
Weight – 135 lbs (Bantamweight)
Record – 9-1 (0-1 UFC)
What makes him impressive
The grappling game of Mark De La Rosa is absolutely fearless and almost overly aggressive. In a lot of ways, his grappling reminds me of a less polished Ray Borg in that he’s always looking for a big transition to a dominant position or looking to sub immediately following going to the ground. This not only make him dangerous in Rounds 1 through 3, but also makes him a lot of fun to watch. So far it has been effective, leading to four submission wins in his last five victories.
Why he has been overlooked
In his first time out for the UFC, De La Rosa took a short notice fight as so many do to get into the octagon for the first time. Not only did that make it so that it was not reflective of his actual skills, but it also was against wile veteran Tim Elliot, who has a impressive submission game of his own. At only 23, Elliot is probably too much for De La Rosa even with a full camp, but it would’ve been much more competitive with one.
What makes this a good match-up
Elliot squares off this weekend with UFC newcomer Elias Garcia. Garcia trains under the famed kickboxing specialist Duke Roufus. However, he, like De La Rosa, favors the ground game and has three submissions in his five wins. He’s happy to engage in a ground fight whenever it should go there. The difference here is the experience. De La Rosa has fought BJJ black belts with more fights than all of Garcia’s professional opponents combined.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 147-64-1 (2 NC) (6 DNF)