All things considered, Mike Perry might just be the best indicator of how the UFC has grown and developed talent since the record setting $4.2-billion sale in 2016 to Hollywood power agency Endeavor, then known as WME-IMG.
In just three years, Perry has become a UFC fan favorite, known for brutal knockouts, highlight reel finishes, and Fight of the Night performances. He’s an old school warrior and brawler, worthy of Pay Per View placement, but he’s also developed enough of a reputation to carry a preliminary card and bring the ratings. His fight versus Geoff Neal atop the UFC 245 prelims caps off one of the strongest undercards of 2019, signifying a major step in Perry’s career, which happens to coincide with the Zuffa sale to Endeavor.
In all honesty, Perry’s road from his explosive UFC beginnings up until now has been filled with many ups and downs, nearly as many losses as wins, controversy, and a badly broken nose. His road has also been full of memorable fights, exemplary feats of courage, showmanship, and redemption. It’s a road that leads to Geoff Neal at UFC 245 on December 14, and here are a few of the twists and turns..
Making his Octagon debut on the main card of the milion-plus selling Diaz vs. McGregor fight at UFC 202, the fist Pay Per View card following the sale to Endeavor, Perry made an immediate impression on the world of mixed martial arts. He not only steamrolled through Hyun Gyu Lim in less than a round, dropping the Korean three times before sealing the deal, but Perry also caused a minor ruckus with a weigh-in diss of his opponent.
Perry was raw and charismatic, and more importantly, dangerous. He struck an instant chord with the fanbase, making headlines for incendiary remarks about ancestry DNA tests, bragging about walking around with bricks of cash in his pocket. Perry distinguished himself as a standout character in a sport of standout characters, and in the years since, Mike “Platinum” Perry has developed into one of the more popular fighters in the UFC, especially among those not heading on a championship trajectory.
The direction is not a slight to Mike Perry. It’s rather a testament to his ability to grow into his role as a UFC veteran who can add major value to a fight card. I mean, have you seen Perry fight? He once elbowed a guy unconscious and then windmilled in the center of the Octagon. On another occasion, Perry took out his adversary with a brutal knee, following up the finish with a rooster dance, mohican and all.
What can you say? The guy’s got swagger. He can deliver spectacular wins, and even when he loses, Perry is valiant and memorable in defeat, leaving his heart (and nose) in the Octagon. He’s a fighter who’s not afraid to step into the villain’s role once in a while, goading opponents with antics, but he can still play the favorite, as well as the hungry and vocal hunter, calling out legends like Donald Cerrone and Robbie Lawler.
Despite all of this praise. Despite his popularity and ability to bring viewers to a UFC 245 prelim card that also features a pivotal bantamweight fight between undefeated Ketlen Vieira and Irene Aldana, and another fan favorite welterweight fight between Matt Brown and Ben Saunders, Mike “Platinum” Perry is the underdog heading into his fight versus Geoff Neal on December 14.
Neal, who is ranked fourteenth in the welterweight division, is 4-0 in the UFC with three finishes. He also earned a first round TKO while fighting on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. With seven knockouts to his name, Neal is no slouch in the striking department, and stylistically, he matches up well with Perry. Well, let’s just say it’s a recipe for action and explosivity.
With Neal, and potentially a future ranking, awaiting Perry, it’s the perfect chance for both fighters really, as the final fight before the UFC 245 PPV main card on ESPN+ is when viewership is likely to peak. It’s an ideal spot to make a major statement on national cable (the fight airs on ESPN 2 around 6:30 PST / 9:30 EST), and Perry is a major reason why the UFC 245 prelims are some of the strongest in recent memory.
The UFC 245 PPV main card on ESPN+ begins at 7 p.m. PST / 10 p.m. EST.
UFC 245 PPV main card (ESPN+)
Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington – UFC welterweight title fight
Max Holloway vs. Alexander Volkanovski – UFC featherweight title fight
Amanda Nunes vs. Germaine de Randamie – UFC bantamweight title fight
Jose Aldo vs. Marlon Moraes
Urijah Faber vs. Petr Yan
UFC 245 Preliminaries (ESPN 2) 5 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. EST
Mike Perry vs. Geoff Neal
Ketlen Vieira vs. Irene Aldana
Matt Brown vs. Ben Saunders
Ian Heinisch vs. Omari Akhmedov
UFC 245 Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass) 1:30 p.m. PST / 4:30 p.m. EST
Chase Hooper vs. David Teymur
Brandon Moreno vs. Kai Kara-France
Jessica Eye vs. Viviane Araujo
Punahele Soriano vs. Oskar Piechota
*Fight Card Subject to Change
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