The UFC returns to action this Saturday for their first-ever event in Uruguay. While the card, on paper, seems a bit thin, the co-main event for UFC on ESPN+ 14 has all the makings of a barn burner between Vicente Luque and Mike Perry. The event will take place at the Antel Arena in Montevideo.
UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal is this weekend!
Three title fights are scheduled for UFC Fight Island on Saturday, July 11. Order the PPV now on ESPN+.
Calling the action on Saturday will be Brendan Fitzgerald, who has been a very busy man this summer doing the play-by-play for Dana White’s Contender Series in Las Vegas. When it comes to the welterweight showdown between the surging Luque and the always exciting Perry, Fitzgerald, more than likely, has similar thoughts to the rest of us.
“This is the fight that when they announce it, it’s like, ‘Nice!,'” Fitzgerald told The Body Lock. “We know we’re going to have a moment that night. Whatever else happens on the rest of the card, we’re going to have a moment in that fight.”
Perry will look to make it two in a row when he steps in the Octagon this Saturday. In his most recent appearance, “Platinum” picked up a unanimous decision win over Alex Oliveira at April’s UFC on ESPN+ 8 event. Prior to that, coming off a hard fought victory over Paul Felder at UFC 226, Perry took on Donald Cerrone at the UFC’s 25th anniversary event in Denver and was submitted in the first round via armbar.
In the eyes of Fitzgerald — win, lose, or draw — Perry brings an aura into every appearance that has fans believing something exciting is about to happen.
“Mike Perry, I called his fight against Cerrone, the guy’s mojo just emanates in the arena,” Fitzgerald explained. “People love to watch him — whether they love to hate him, whether they want him to win — he’s a can’t deny kind of personality. Just his walkout is exciting. He’s exciting standing in the cage staring the guy down during introductions, he’s exciting when he’s getting introduced. He’s just so energetic and he brings it out of his opponent, which in this case, doesn’t need it.
“The term ‘People’s Main Event’, that certainly applies this one, again, featuring Mike Perry.”
Luque has gone, somewhat, under the radar in the loaded UFC welterweight division. “The Silent Assassin” has finished five consecutive fights, picking up wins over Niko Price, Chad Laprise, Jalin Turner, Bryan Barberena and Derrick Krantz during his current streak. Luque will look to make it six consecutive wins in his home continent of South America.
“Luque is such a killer,” Fitzgerald said. “They love him in South America; he’s got family in Chile, he’s from Brazil, he was born in New Jersey, he’s a citizen of the world, speaks three languages. So, internationally, Luque is very popular, for good reason. He’s also a very good fighter and the welterweight division is on fire more than any other division right now.”
Fitzgerald sees a very bright future for both competitors. With the current run Luque has been on, with another impressive victory on Saturday, the man calling the action cage side believes the 27-year-old would deserve a lot more attention in the 170-pound division in the UFC.
“I think as long as he gets this win, and the welterweight division kind of shakes out a little bit more, you’re going to see him get ranked opponents and top-10 guys,” Fitzgerald said. “Remember, in Rochester (at UFC on ESPN+ 10), he was supposed to fight Neil Magny, and Magny has to fall out of that one. He was going to start getting in that conversation, but then of course, ‘I’ll take the fight against Derrick Krantz.’
“The thing that I like about Luque is… the division is stacked right now. Welterweight is tough to get a fight. It’s tough to climb into those rankings because who do you move out? It’s just totally stacked with big names. The thing I like about Luque is he’s not like, ‘I’m not going to sit out and wait patiently until you give me a guy who is (ranked) 11, or 9, or whatever. I want to stay active. Sure, give me Mike Perry. I’ll put my winning streak on the line against a dangerous guy.’
“He was going to do it against Magny, but then, he had everything to lose in a fight with Derrick Krantz. There was really nothing to gain from that fight. That’s another way you gain respect from the fans and from the UFC, and continue to build your name. It’s all there. People know he can fight. It’s just a matter of sometimes the timing doesn’t work out. This year, it hasn’t in terms of fighting guys in the top-10, but it’s coming, certainly. It’s coming. Obviously, he’s got to beat Mike Perry first.”
There’s a lot to like about Saturday’s co-main event in Uruguay, especially considering the two action-packed fighters involved. Another thing Fitzgerald loves about the matchup is what is on the line at the position both guys are currently at in their careers.
“There’s very little to lose on either side for each of these guys,” Fitzgerald said. “I think there’s everything to gain for both of these guys — in a win or a loss, too, depending on how the fight plays out.”