My first impression of Mike Perry, like most people’s, was not particularly favourable. Hyun Gyu Lim’s fake handshaking is now a minor footnote in the “Platinum” storey — surely a whole chapter for a more normal fighter — and an early reason for fans to root against him.
My second and third impressions were formed during his first two UFC fights, and they told a different storey. Perry led the dance and countered with great accuracy (63 percent according to UFCStats) against a large, powerful man in Lim, dropping him three times en route to the first-round victory.
Mike Perry ‘s second UFC fight revealed a different aspect of his fighting ability. Perry walked through some stiff left hands against Danny Roberts, a rangy Southpaw sniper. Despite his opponent’s advantage in volume, Perry injured or knocked Roberts out at the end of every round. Despite appearing to be ahead, Perry pushed the pace in the final frame, putting Roberts to sleep.
Natural instincts, ridiculous power, an iron chin, and a warrior mentality — this is 2016 in a nutshell. Perry possessed all of these qualities in spades. It’s my job to watch fights, analyse combatants, and spot potential… and Perry did not disappoint.
After only five years, the 29-year-old is almost unrecognisable. He maintained his habit of walking straight into left hands, but many of the positives are missing. He’s lost his sense of timing, and his power no longer appears to frighten opponents. Surprisingly, the modern Perry is a better wrestler than a striker. Takedowns were his only real positive moments in his last three fights.
Against Mickey Gall and Tim Means, there was at least reason to believe that the Mike Perry who gave Vicente Luque everything he could handle was still alive. He didn’t fight particularly well in either fight, but he did so with his girlfriend by his side. Poor preparation leads to poor performance, and there’s little doubt Perry was running his own camp and screwing around prior to those fights.
This time, there is no such excuse. Perry arrived in good shape. He may have complained a lot on Twitter, but he gained weight and his cardio did not fail him at any point. MMA Masters is a very legitimate gym with a large roster of UFC fighters, and it is a camp that is well-suited to help Perry recover.
Perry’s technical performance, however, did not improve. Perry’s footwork was strangely upright and hoppy, and he didn’t seem to know how to move his head off the centre line. Daniel Rodriguez’s punch after punch after punch should have motivated Perry to start slipping, but it never happened.
Perry gave it his all, but it didn’t seem to help. Take it from the man himself, not from an outsider’s perspective:
After the loss, Perry posted on Instagram, “I used to be great.” “I’m not sure what happened. I still have one fight left on my contract. I’ll work hard and give it my all for my family. Whatever it takes to make their lives better. I’ll bleed every day for them if necessary.”
At this point, one must wonder if Perry has been shot. His chin is still holding up, for sure, but has five years of scraping by destroyed Perry’s previous potential? Can MMA Masters, or anyone else, save “Platinum”?
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