If you’ve been following Frank Trevino’s career, you may have realized that he’s been one of the most oft-injured fighters in the UFC over the past 6-ish months. After making a surprising debut, with a win over Renee Forte back in March, he’s been booked to fight Joe Ellenberger, Abel Trujillo, and Johnny Case. Each of those fights fell through due to a Trevino injury. This bout against Case is just the latest, but when Trevino has gone down, opportunity has arisen. This time, the opportunity is Frankie Perez’s as he is set to make his debut at UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Siver on January 18th in Boston. So…
Who is Frankie Perez:
Like a lot of east coast prospects, Perez came up through the ranks of Ring of Combat. He trains out of Ricardo Almeida Jiu-Jitsu, in New Jersey, alongside Frankie Edgar and Edson Barboza. The 25-year old brings a record of 9-1 with him to the Octagon, his only loss, a split decision, coming against another recent UFC signee, Chris Wade. He bounced back from defeat with a victory over Tom Marcellino at WSOF 13. His record is decidedly submission tilted, with five wins by tapout, three by decision, and just one TKO.
What you should expect:
Perez has been working on building a fundamental striking game, and while it’s not the prettiest thing, it looks like it’s becoming a functional part of his arsenal. He kicks well and consistently at range, and uses his movement and low kick threats, to try and set up big, overhand strikes. Inside, he’s got a decent, stifling trip game, and tends to look for trips and throws from body lock, but his lack of physical strength keeps him from being a real force inside. He has shown the ability to generate good power and change speeds on his strikes when he sits down on his punches. On the ground, Perez works a decent positional grappling/wrestling game, but isn’t terribly heavy on top, often letting opponents back to their feet when he searches for strikes. But, his positional focus does set up his submission game nicely.
What this means for his debut:
I’ll be the first to admit that I was totally shocked by Johnny Case in his first fight in the UFC. He showed great inside combination boxing, as well as very strong scrambling ability. Still, I’m not sure this bout isn’t a tossup. Case’s takedown defense is okay, but it’s not amazing, nor is his ability to stay out of the clinch. His striking is tighter however, and he may be the faster, more dynamic fighter between the two of them. The biggest factor here may be time, although, still 3 weeks out from the fight, I’m not as sold on that as I might otherwise be for a short notice callup. Over all, this looks like a bit of a tossup and may come down to whether or not Perez can control enough of the clinch and ground battles in the fight for long enough.
To get us better acquainted, here’s Perez’s bout with Adam Townsend from 2013:
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