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.
The heavyweight division (as Dana put so eloquently on Contender Series this past week) always needs a name or two. However, we tend to write off heavyweights who don’t instantly impress us as worthless. This week, we look to one who had a less than brilliant debut, but does in fact have a lot of promise.
Affiliation – Spike 22
From – Tamuning, Guam
Height – 5’10”
Weight – 255 lbs (Heavyweight)
Record – 15-6-2 (0-1 UFC)
What makes him impressive
Despite being a big man, and very heavy for his height, Martinez is very quick. His head movement is excellent and he stays out of the way of most jabs. He also fires off kicks that seem to have no tell to them ahead of time. These come to the legs and to the body of his opponents. Plus, while we see a lot of heavyweight signees prove this stuff against the lower levels of competition on the regional scene, Martinez showed these skills even against guys like Mirko Cro Cop. In their Rizin 13 bout, there is even reason to suggest that Martinez was winning the round before a cut opened up and the doctor was forced to stop it.
Why he has been overlooked
As previously mentioned, Martinez had far from an ideal UFC debut. To be fair though, he was matched with undefeated Moldovan power house, Alexander Romanov. Romanov is a guy known to rag doll his opponents with superior grappling and has tons of submission victories. So while Martinez didn’t look great in that bout, there is certainly no reason to sell the stock in him.
Also worth noting is the physique of Martinez. A lot of people write off heavyweights that don’t have the chiseled physique of a Stipe Miocic or Francis Ngannou. Martinez is a lot closer to a Blagoy Ivanov than either of those two, which could be a reason why some fans are not all that hyped on him as well.
What makes this a good match-up
Don’Tale Mayes has loads of power in his hands, but he does wind up significantly. There’s no doubt when you see him coming forward what’s coming next. While this is a fine strategy against a lot of heavyweights, because he’ll simply knock them out when they decide to exchange, it doesn’t work so well against someone like Martinez. His movement alone should tire Mayes out pretty quickly, especially given his history of gas tank issues.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 208-92-1 (2 NC) (10 DNF)
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