UFC 259 Prelim Breakout Star: Mario Bautista

January 19, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Mario Bautista brings down Cory Sandhagen during UFC Fight Night at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

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.

At the rate of late replacements coming in for fights in the UFC during this crazy era, it maybe isn’t surprising that the prelims have a few of them. However, it is pretty rare that they have been winning, which is why it is even more interesting how much I favor the one we’re highlighting this week.

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Mario Bautista

Affiliation – MMA Lab
From – Winnemucca, Nevada
Height – 5’9″
Weight – 135 lbs (Bantamweight)
Record – 9-1 (2-1 UFC)


What makes him impressive

Coming off of a flying knee KO and a performance prior to that where he landed 129 strikes, you might assume that the hands are what makes Bautista special. The real answer is that he blends everything together particularly well, but if I had to pick one area, I would go with the transitions to his takedowns. We’ve yet to see a lot of attempts in the UFC, partially due to the aforementioned success with the hands, but what we did see was him take down Cory Sandhagen. While he was ultimately unsuccessful in that fight, it shouldn’t deter us from seeing the positives in that attempt.


Why he has been overlooked

A loss in your debut, especially a high profile one, is never great for building hype. There isn’t much higher profile of a debut than the one that Bautista experienced. Not only did he fight Cory Sandhagen on nine days notice, but he did so as the first ever bout on ESPN. After getting submitted in the first round, he wasn’t exactly a candidate for hype trains, but since then he has proven that he is up for the task of the UFC and has run through two straight opponents. That hype hasn’t returned yet, but another big win here may just do the trick.


What makes this a good match-up

Trevin Jones fancies himself a grappler and with particularly good submission skills. While I was impressed with his durability in his debut,  \he was goaded into a fight that was not the type he typically would want. I worry about that for him in a fight with Bautista, who is not only more flexible in his style, but is great at forcing others to fight in the mode that he wants to. Given that and his offensive wrestling prowess, I expect Bautista to handle this fight fairly easily.


Prelim Breakout Star Record: 214-96-1 (2 NC) (13 DNF)

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