It’s the weekend, so there’s another UFC show to tune in to.
UFC 206 is a tough act to follow after an absolute humdinger of a card—featuring instant classic fights like Cub Swanson vs. Doo Ho Choi and Donald Cerrone vs. Matt Brown. UFC on Fox: VanZant vs. Waterson (otherwise known as UFC on Fox 22) has plenty of promise, on paper, to maintain that run of crazily entertaining fights.
Besides the show’s headliner between Paige VanZant and Michelle Waterson, the card—set to take place in the new Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California—also features hometown hero Urijah Faber’s final UFC swansong against scrappy Brit Brad Pickett, Eddie Wineland vs. Takeya Mizugaki in what will be an all-out bantamweight war in addition to a contest between two of the UFC’s freshest faces in Sage Northcutt and Mickey Gall.
However, Saturday night’s main card, broadcast on Fox, will be kicked off between a skirmish between two of the UFC’s hardiest welterweight warriors—with Mike Perry taking on Alan Jouban.
Perry only made his UFC debut in August of 2016, but he has certainly made a splash. Brash, loud, outspoken and an entertaining penchant for in-cage violence, the 25-year-old brawler has a perfect UFC record of 2-0—adding to his 9-0 record with all wins coming by way of knockout—following impressive performances against giant Korean welterweight Hyun Gyu Lim at UFC 202 and Danny Roberts at UFC 204—the latter of which being an absolute war which was stopped just 20 seconds before the final round’s close in one of 2016’s most exciting fights.
Born in Flint, Michigan and living in Florida, Perry has won both plaudits and detractors through his actions inside and outside of the Octagon in plentiful supply. Perry caught the eye when he faked a handshake to talk trash to the largely inoffensive Lim ahead of his debut. If the American had lost, he would have been a part of MMA folklore alongside Tony Bonello for his pre-fight hype against Murilo “Ninja” Rua. But, Perry, as he always has throughout his MMA career thus far, delivered on his promise of a knockout and in some style.
Unfortunately for Perry, his moronic cornerman and fellow UFC fighter Alex Nicholson let him down by making racist comments seconds ahead of the fight in the heat of the moment—an act which really detracted from Perry’s impressive performance.
Such incidents have led to Perry receiving plenty of online abuse during his short, ongoing stint in the UFC. “I’ve got to remember that it’s just hate and I’m getting smarter in life because of dealing with something like that,” he told MMAjunkie. “Sometimes it gets to me, but I’m at home, so I’m good. I get frustrated like, ‘This is ridiculous.’ But then I’m like, ‘Who is this person? This person has no effect on me whatsoever.’ I’m remembering that more and more as I go along.
“I look up to certain guys who I’m sure have dealt with this. Let’s say Donald Trump or Floyd Mayweather. There’s a big gap between those guys, but they deal with it a lot. I try to stay positive in every situation.”
Jouban is one of the optimal opponents for Perry’s style. With a record of 14-4, the 35-year-old Lafayette, Louisiana, native has five UFC wins to his credit with knockout victories over Seth Baczynski, Richard Walsh and decision wins against Matt Dwyer Belal Muhammad.
He may be a model, having worked with Versace in the past, but Jouban doesn’t shy away from a fight which could spoil his money maker which explains why he has three Fight of the Night honours to his credit. 5-2 in the UFC, Jouban’s two losses have been against two of MMA’s most promising welterweight prospects in Albert Tumenov and Warlley Alves.
Jouban has a solid Brazilian jiu jitsu background with a brown belt awarded to him by Eddie Bravo and training with plenty of capable Brazilian grapplers as Black House in California. But, Muay Thai kickboxing remains the Louisianan’s true bread and butter, exemplified in his nine knockout wins.
Jouban is the bigger man, enjoying both a height and reach advantage on Saturday night over Perry. He also has better striking fundamentals which could prove handy against a brawler like Perry who is sure to march forward and wing big punches at every possible opportunity. But, as Perry has displayed before with both Lim and Roberts, it is unwise to fight fire with fire against him.
Whether it’s typical pre-fight bravado or not, Perry claims to have not ever heard of his opponent until they were matched up. But, he likes the prospect of this fight. “I never heard of (Jouban), but I love the matchup,” he said. “But that’s what they do, the UFC and Sean Shelby and Joe Silva. I’m not sure which one set this up, but they’re the best matchmakers in the world and had a reason for this one.
“He’s got some fame, but he’s never had the momentum I’ve had. I’m going to take my momentum and run over him like a train and take all of his fame. I want to get his Versace job too.”
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