Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at light heavyweight Mike Rodriguez makes his UFC debut against Devin Clark.
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight
Camp: Lauzon Mixed Martial Arts
Career Record: 9-2
Key Wins: Jamelle Jones
Key Losses: None
The Joe Lauzon-trained light heavyweight first got an opportunity when he fought on the Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series. Rodriguez dazzled in that fight winning by spectacular first round knockout to earn a full UFC contract. His bout at UFC 223 will be his first fight in eight months.
- Tremendous size for the division
- Mixes in strikes well
- Surprising accuracy when attempts trademark flying knee strike
- Does well to get back to his feet when taken to the mat
- Solid ground and pound
- Too left-side centric
- All of his attacks come from left side of his body
- Forced against the cage far too often
- Can be controlled on the mat
Offensive Striking: C
Striking Defense: D
Knockout Power: C
Offensive Wrestling: D-
Takedown Defense: D+
Overall Grade: D
Matchup against Devin Clark
In a clash of styles, newcomer Mike Rodriguez takes on Devin Clark at UFC 223. Both of these fighters were discovered from different UFC related shows. Clark was part of the Lookin’ for a Fight Series, while Rodriguez won his appearance on the Tuesday Night Contender Series. Both fighters impressed when given the opportunity to fight in front of UFC President Dana White. The matchup is an interesting one as the fighters have few similarities. Rodriguez is four inches taller and has a whopping eight inch reach advantage. With his physical gifts, Rodriguez will want to keep this fight on the feet. He’ll look to keep Clark at distance where he can land leg kicks and setup his trademark flying left knee. Rodriguez hides it well, but when he attempts he has a lot of accuracy and has proven in his pre UFC career that he can put opponents away with it. Clark will do all he can to avoid the big left knee. It will be in his best interest to fight at close range and control the cage. Rodriguez has been pushed against the fence in previous fights and that is something Clark is capable of doing. The longer this fight goes on, the advantage becomes more clear for Clark. The South Dakota native is familiar with fighting against bigger opponents and as long as he can avoid the left knee of Rodriguez, this is a fight in which he can outwork his opponent and wear him out over the course of three rounds to get the win. It’s a tricky bout to bet considering Clark will likely have to go 15 minutes with Rodriguez to get the win. Rodriguez is the far more likely fighter to earn a finish in this bout.
Mike Rodriguez is intriguing new addition to the UFC. He’s got tremendous size for the weight class and his flying left knee is a X factor that he’s capable of landing against just about anybody. While Rodriguez has proven he can catch opponents, he hasn’t shown yet that he can win a dog fight or outwork opponents to win decisions. He needs to prove he can maintain a high level for 15 minutes to be able to stick in the UFC long term even in a shallow division like light heavyweight.
Check out Mike Rodriguez in some of his most recent fights:
Mike Rodriguez vs. Alec Hooban
Mike Rodriguez vs. Jamelle Jones