UFC 212 Newcomer Breakdown: Brian Kelleher

Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at American Brian Kelleher as he makes his UFC debut against Brazilian veteran Iuri Alcantara at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  

Brian “Boom” Kelleher

Hometown: Selden, NY
Age: 30
Height: 5’6”
Reach: NA
Weight Class: Bantamweight
Camp: Maxum BJJ
Career Record: 16-7
Key Wins: Andre Soukhamthath
Key Losses: Jimmie Rivera


The New York native is a veteran of the regional MMA scene, fighting in all the bigger Northeast USA promotions, including CES and Ring of Combat. Kelleher has won his last six fights overall, with four of them coming inside the distance. 


  • Really good footwork
  • Forward pressing fighter
  • Good in scrambles
  • Significant experience for a UFC newcomer


  • Vulnerable to submission attempts
  • Not a great athlete
  • Doesn’t have big knockout power

Fighter Grade

Offensive Striking: C-
Striking Defense: D+
Knockout Power: D
Athleticism / Speed: D+
Footwork: C+
Chin: D+
Offensive Wrestling: C-
Takedown Defense: D+
Submissions: C-
Conditioning: D+
Intangibles: D+

Overall Grade: D+

Matchup with Iuri Alcantara

Kelleher heads down to Brazil to make his UFC debut against the Brazilian Iuri Alcantara, who is 6-2 in his native country during his tenure in the UFC and will be a tough opponent to deal with there. It’s imperative for Kelleher to take Alcantara to the mat early and often to neutralize his offensive weapons. I think that may prove difficult for Kelleher, especially early in the fight. A fresh Alcantara is very difficult matchup, and I expect the Brazilian to look to impose his will early on the American. Alcantara is a gifted striker with a lot of weapons in his arsenal. Kelleher has never faced a striker with the skill set Alcantara has, and that may just be too much to overcome. Look for the Brazilian to land some key shots early and then perhaps end up in some grappling exchanges where he sinks in a submission. Kelleher has been submitted four times during his career, making it a major weakness that Alcantara can exploit. Alcantara inside the distance is currently listed at +130 but doesn’t provide the value necessary. Once specific method of victory props open at 5Dimes Sportsbook, maybe there will be an opportunity, but at this point, this is heading in the direction of no bet.

UFC Ceiling

Kelleher is a workman style fighter with good footwork. He doesn’t have one punch knockout power or outstanding jiu jitsu credentials, but he has enough all-around ability to beat some of the lower end fighters in the bantamweight division. At 30 years of age, he’s likely already on the downside of his career, so I don’t see much room for improvement from him in the future.

Fight Film

Check out Kelleher in some of his most recent fights…

Kelleher vs. Julio Arce


Kelleher vs. Andy Main


Parting Shot Interview

Written by Jay Primetown

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