Stand and bang with Mike Perry at your own risk.
Alex Oliveira (20-7-1, 2 NC) is no stranger to bloody brawls and he was eager to test his striking against “Platinum” in their welterweight encounter at UFC Fort Lauderdale on Saturday at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Perry (13-4) met the challenge head-on and after dropping the first round, came roaring back to win a convincing unanimous decision with a trio of 29-28 scores.
Afterwards, he offered a bit of philosophy to explain his success.
“I feel fantastic, I was trying to get that KO with a head kick so I could say I’m the best striker in the UFC,” Perry said post-fight. “I didn’t have that today, but I tell you what, when they contract I expand, when they expand I contract, and when there is an opportunity I don’t hit, it hits all by itself.”
Oliveira and Perry made for a visually intriguing matchup, with “Cowboy” perpetually loose and bouncing on his toes, and Perry coiled tightly ready to explode at a moment’s notice. The first period favored Oliveira’s style, the second and third Perry’s.
Both men didn’t hesitate to throw flashy strikes, but it was the straight punches of Oliveira that were the story of the fight early on. Perry showed off his impressive power when the two were in close and when they separated. His defense was lacking though and the rangy Oliveira was able to pick him apart.
However, unlike in some of Perry’s previous appearances, the Floridian didn’t fade, instead becoming sharper as the bout progressed. He showed patience, looking to counter with hooks and pressing in when Oliviera showed signs of weakness. Perry put Oliviera on the mat twice with his right hand and at one point, broke up a tie-up attempt by hurling “Cowboy” into the air.
Perry capitalized on the second knockdown by following Oliveira to the mat and working from half-guard. He landed big ground strikes and a sharp knee to the body before Olivieira could get back to his feet.
The pace slowed in round three, which favored Perry and his more precise punching. With a smile on his face, Oliveira challenged Perry to come forward and “Platinum” obliged, sealing the deal with a flurry against the fence that Oliveira could only turtle up against.
Perry improved to 6-4 in the UFC with this victory, which only came about after Perry agreed to step in on just over a month’s notice for an injured Li Jingliang. Regardless, he capitalized on the opportunity and now finds himself once again making his way up the welterweight ladder.
“I heard Darren Till got himself into a little trouble there,” Perry said in regards to who he’s targeting as a potential opponent. “I’m trying to make a jump in the ranking system, trying to get my hands on Colby Covington. These guys fight once a year it seems like. I’m fighting so many dang times, I can’t even keep count. That’s 18 in the past four years, let’s get it, baby, 19 coming soon.”