Dricus Du Plessis (-174) vs. Markus Perez (+146)
Weight Class: Middleweight Welterweight (185 lbs)
On a UFC Fight Island card loaded with up and coming fighters, Dricus Du Plessis stands out. The South Africa native and former KSW champ will be making his UFC debut against a tried and true UFC veteran in Markus Perez. The two engaged in a rather intense face off yesterday afternoon in which Perez reprised his ‘Joker’ look.
At 26 years old, many in the MMA community are expecting big things from Dricus Du Plessis. The UFC typically won’t feed a debuting fighter to an established one unless the expectations are high. While Perez isn’t a ranked fighter, he has held his own in the UFC.
The Brazilian’s record is very deceiving. Though 2-3 outright, Perez has lost to Eryk Anders, Andrew Sanchez and Wellington Turman. Back in 2017, Pérez secured an LFA belt with a submission win over Ian Heinisch.
As stated before, the UFC wouldn’t make this match-up unless they thought Du Plessis was legit. The South African had two very entertaining title fights with Roberto Soldic in KSW, splitting them. Soldic is a UFC caliber fighter who we may see on the roster before long, so these fights are a great measuring stick.
Dricus Du Plessis displayed an excellent chin during both Soldic fights. He weathered a powerful barrage early in bout one with grappling that seemed panicked, but was very effective. He stopped the onslaught and immediately reversed his opponent. After some powerful wrestling to close out round one, Du Plessis dropped Soldic with a hook that seemingly came out of nowhere. The power was on full display.
He was then KO’d in the second match-up between the two, but not without having his moments. A loss to Soldic is nothing to fret over and Du Plessis has won his last two bouts since.
Stylistically, both fighters have power. Perez has never been stopped and is difficult to take down. The problem thus far with Perez has been pacing. He has wasted lots of energy searching for the finish in his losses.
As for Dricus Du Plessis, he is more technical and patient. His leg kicks are very effective and he seeks to pinpoint them. Du Plessis gets the edge in kick-boxing for this bout, though I’d probably lean Perez in the grappling realm. This is mostly size based, though we’ve seen Dricus De Plessis wrestle above what his size would indicate more than once.
Ultimately, I just don’t see a path to victory for Perez. Du Plessis has shown an ability to weather adversity and he should be able to handle an onslaught from Perez.
The problem for Perez is that tonight may not be the night to change tactics. The “bulldozer” approach is probably best against a guy like Du Plessis, who could pick him apart otherwise. If Perez is hesitant, I expect him to land heavy shots, but ultimately be out-landed.
I also just think that Dricus Du Plessis is on another level. He strikes me as a future top 10 fighter where as Perez isn’t there yet. This is no disrespect to Perez, quite the contrary actually. Du Plessis is just on another level and he’s used to big spots. This isn’t a typical UFC debut.
Still, Du Plessis is far from a lock. Perez could certainly stop him, but ultimately, Dricus Du Plessis has the chin required.
At (-174), there is great value for the Du Plessis moneyline. We may not see him with such good odds next time out, so this is a steal.
Prediction and Play: Dricus Du Plessis KO/TKO
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