(Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
The Prelim Breakout Star is a once per event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention the most talented guy on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
UFC 157’s preliminary card holds a great deal of intrigue. There are knockout artists recovering from tough skids, Ultimate Fighter veterans looking to become more than just reality show stars, and more than a couple debuts. This week’s Prelim Breakout Star comes to you from the preliminary fights on FX.
Nickname - The Menace
From - Saugerties, New York
Height - 5’6”
Weight - 145lbs (Featherweight)
Record - 9-3 (2-1 UFC)
What makes him impressive
An Ultimate Fighter finalist, Dennis Bermudez packs a lot of power into his frame. While he used this power on the show and early in his career to knock people out, since moving down to the featherweight division he’s used it to dictate the realm of the fight. In his win over the always scrappy Pablo Garza, Bermudez worked his way inside of the Scarecrow’s length and dropped him to the floor at will.
Once his weakness, Bermudez seems to be making strides in the jiu jitsu department. After dropping three straight fights by submission in a year and a half span, Bermudez appears to have made submission defense a priority. It seems to be paying dividends as seen in both the Garza and Tommy Hayden fights.
Why he’s been overlooked
In a division that totes a great deal of solid wrestlers such as Clay Guida, Frankie Edgar, Nik Lentz, and Chad Mendes, it is easy for Bermudez to get lost in the shuffle. In addition, there are also a fair share of takedown artists within the division that are not primarily wrestlers such as Hatsu Hioki and Jimy Hettes. Although his skills stand for themselves, these fighters with more high profile fights tend to overshadow him.
A second reason Bermudez is often overlooked is his Ultimate Fighter tag. All too often in The Ultimate Fighter, the runner-up is left with a bad taste in his mouth and low expectations from fans. Fighters like Kris McCray, Phillipe Nover, and Tommy Speer have all faded into black, while the winners are bumped up quickly. However, it is important to remember that although Bermudez dropped his finale fight to Diego Brandao, he controlled most of the fight and even had the eventual winner in trouble.
What makes this a good matchup
When two Division 1 wrestlers like Dennis Bermudez and Matt Grice square off, the common prediction is that the wrestling will cancel out and viewers will witness a stand-up fight. While Grice does have some of the same credentials in the wrestling department, Bermudez has much more quickness and far more power. This is likely to land him in more than a few advantageous top positions.
Also, to date, the only path to victory for Bermudez opponents is via submission. With Grice sporting only four submission victories, and with two of them being via punches, it is not likely that he will tap out Bermudez.
Daniel Vreeland is a writer (PrelimPicker) and teacher with an avid love for martial arts. He has practiced jiu jitsu and submission grappling under and next to many top names including Royce Gracie, Rousimar Palhares, Murilo Bustamante and Marco Alvan. He has placed in multiple NAGA grappling tournaments and currently trains under black belt Dave Roy in Amherst, MA.