UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Walker will set the stage for Alexander Hernandez to welcome Mike Breeden to the UFC. Hernandez, a long-time standout in the promotion, first burst onto the promotion’s scene in 2018, quickly establishing himself as one of the best young talents the sport has to offer.
After winning two in a row, Hernandez was pitted against longtime MMA vet, Donald Cerrone, a test that Hernandez would ultimately fail and a difficult reminder that for most MMA fighters, glory requires adversity. Bouncing back from that loss, Hernandez has jumped between wins and losses against a high-caliber set of foes including Francisco Trinaldo, Drew Dober, Chris Gruetzemacher, and Thiago Moises. While still a promising prospect, Hernandez has yet to find the streak he has been seeking. A win over Breeden on Saturday could set that streak in motion.
For Mike Breeden, this is his ticket into the big show. Coming off of two impressive victories in Fighting Alliance Championship, Breeden has more than made up for his hard-fought decision loss on the Contender series in 2020. The 32-year-old finds himself in the unique position to potentially jump into the elite of the elite in the UFC if he can pull off an impressive victory over Hernandez in his first UFC bout.
Hernandez vs. Breeden betting odds
Mike Breeden will enter his promotional debut with the UFC as a large underdog at +375, meaning that a down bet of $100 should return $375 if he is successful.
Hernandez vs. Breeden breakdown
Alexander Hernandez has a very sharp striking style built on fundamentals. He has given different stance looks depending on who he is fighting, most recently he has utilized a low ‘sprinter’ like stance, however, this was against Moises who on paper should have wanted to take him down. Therefore, although his low stance allows for Hernandez to burst forward, he may not feel the pressure to stay low in caution of the takedown the same way, against Breeden who primarily boxes.
Hernandez’s best combination is his basic 1-2 or jab-cross, although he is very good at mixing it up with hooks if his opponent is stunned and he finds the opportunity to stand in range and sit on his punches. For the most part however look for Hernandez to move forward, giving his opponent multiple looks and lots of feints, bursting forward with the straight shots. There is little fat on his movements, everything with Hernandez is short and calculated, and he doesnt over-commit or loop with his strikes.
He also likes using a quick front kick, which he will snap to midsection rather than push as with the traditional teep. The difficulty that Hernandez has had has typically been due to fighting opponents with a wider skill set, against fighters like Cerrone and Moises, their larger arsenal of kicks left Hernandez unprepared by the time they had found reads on him.
Mike Breeden will be far less familiar to fight fans. He is primarily boxing based in his approach, and his best attributes are his fast and explosive hands. He is light on the feet and uses good sharp and fluid head movement in order to counter with wicked combos of his own. In some ways his style is best compared to an early Cody Garbrandt in the UFC, against Hernandez he will likely look to defend the takedown and test Hernandez’s boxing.
Breeden will look to draw out the overhand right or any big punch, by providing openings and leading with his head. If he can do so, he likes to slip and roll undershots and counter to the body with vicious hooks. In terms of grappling, his goal is typically to defend and strike, and he does this best when he has the cage behind him for help. While his takedown defense doesn’t always hold up, he is very difficult to hold down.
Hernandez also does not have the best track record in dominating his opponents purely with wrestling, however, he is relentless in his wrestling game and this often pays dividends late in the fight. Look for Hernandez to push Breeden against the cage and wear on him, both to negate the explosiveness in his arms as well as invest in finding a smoother time grappling by round three.
Hernandez vs. Breeden prediction
Overall while Breeden is promising, I think that this is too big a jump for his first UFC fight. The style match-up gives Breeden his best shot early with his speed, but even by the end of the first round, Breeden has begun to lean on his grit in the past. Hernandez’s potential ability to stay composed and force Breeden into late territory will only accentuate the high-level experience difference, and Hernandez doesn’t normally take many risks in his approach.
Prediction: Alexander Hernandez to win
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.