Mike Perry can end a fight suddenly. (Photo: Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
Mike Perry steps inside the Octagon for the 9th time in two years Saturday when he takes on former training partner and Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Donald Cerrone in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 139. Perry is now 5-3 in the UFC and a win over the legendary Cerrone could propel him into a legitimate contender.
Although Perry is known for his aggressive leading attacks, he does his best work on the counter. He takes on a pressure-countering style where he will back opponents to the cage with footwork and feints before baiting them to come forward, where he can land his patented overhand right. Something to notice is how he often counters in combos and not just single strikes. Perry loves a firefight and is not afraid of moving into striking range and countering with a 3-plus strike combo.
Similar to his opponent this weekend, Perry generally splits his time in the cage between leading and countering to keep opponents guessing. Perry doesn't have the deepest bag of tricks on the lead and often gets stuck throwing nothing but lead hooks and overhand rights, but his knockout power and ability to absorb strikes and keep on pressing forward have been enough to overwhelm opponents. Something Perry should work on is incorporating kicks with his pressure-counter boxing. He rarely throws kicks, but when he does he has a really nice low-line side blow to the knee and rear attack to the body.
As most fans know by now, Perry loves a dogfight and often relies on his chin and knockout power rather than technical ability when trading in the pocket. Perry’s pressure often forces opponents’ backs to the cage, where Perry will bite down on his mouthpiece and throw wild hooks to the head. Something I love about his trading against the cage is how he integrates knees and punches to the body. Most fighters are concerned with not getting their head knocked off during wild exchanges like this, which leaves the body open to being hit and Perry aptly exploits this tendency.
But Perry’s wild and exciting style is bound to get him in trouble at the highest levels of the sport. He generally is good at slipping punches and returning with some of his own, but he has shown to get easily flustered under pressure and when his back is against the cage. Luckily for him, these faults can be traced back to his lack of footwork, which he has plenty of time to develop. Instead of retreating, he often just leans back with his hands down when opponents come forward and is wide open to be hit. When he does retreat, he backs up in a straight line and eventually hits the cage, where he has limited movement. If he can learn to retreat on an angle and keep his hands up during exchanges, we could be looking at a future contender.