Mike Breeden makes his UFC debut at UFC Vegas 38. Daniel Vreeland takes a look at what makes the debuting prospect stand out.

The Stats

NameMike “Money” Breeden
FromLee’s Summit, MO
ClassLightweight (155lbs)
Height5’10”
Reach70 inches
Pro Record10-3
Last PromotionFighting Alliance Championship

The Lowdown

When Mike Breeden moves forward, he’s a pretty dangerous striker. He works the body well and goes often to throwing knees – both to the body and to the head. This tendency has led him to a number of KOs in his thirteen-fight career, including one over recent UFC debutant Brandon Jenkins. The major issue with this skill is that he sometimes is quite easy to get on the back foot. Particularly early in fights, Breeden bites on feints more than your standard fighter. He also mostly deals with pressure by simply backing up. To add to this problem, his head movement when doing so is variable – sometimes he remembers to get it off the center line and others he leaves it right there to be hit. We also learned from his Contender Series bout with Anthony Romero that he has a tough time checking or getting out of the way of leg kicks.

On the grappling side of things, I actually like Breeden’s defense a lot more than I like his offense. He does all the things you hope and expect an aggressive striker would do to find distance when his opponent engages. He digs under-hooks, he circles off the cage – all the basics are done well. The offense lags a bit behind and I suspect that some of that is due to his strength of schedule. In his most recent fight, against Nick Compton (12-8), he got an over/under clinch and simply picked his opponent up. While it worked in this context, you have to imagine nearly everybody in the UFC would put a kibosh to that.

What to Expect Saturday

Breeden’s best hope for a victory this weekend against Alexander Hernandez would come from being first. He has to press the action in this fight and he has to make sure to stay on his front foot. The unfortunate thing for him in this debut is that he just happens to be fighting someone who does not back up. I expect that if Breeden does go with this gameplan, it will likely result in the two fighters meeting in the middle and throwing bombs until one of them falls over. Ultimately, that may just be Breeden’s best case for success because if he backs up at all, he’s going to get sparked.

I really don’t expect grappling to come into play in this one. Hernandez hasn’t given up a takedown since he fought Donald Cerrone in the early part of 2019, and that includes fighting notable grapplers like Thiago Moises and Francisco Trinaldo. Being that this is going to take place on the feet, I do think that KO is going to come for Hernandez.

Alexander HernandezvsMike Breeden
28Age32
16Fights13
12Wins10
4Losses3
6KO’s8
2Subs0
5′ 9Height (in)5′ 10
72Reach (in)70
Alexander Hernandez vs Mike Breeden – Tale of the Tape

What to Expect Long-Term

Breeden is certainly a far cry from the debacle of last week’s debut. He has skills that have made him really successful on the local scene. However, there are some gaps that would need to close to see him make any kind of run in the UFC. At 32 years old in one of the toughest divisions in the UFC, I’m just not sure that’s possible. With just so many lightweights who can turn off the lights, the defensive striking is what worries me the most. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him pick up a victory at some point, but I expect him to finish below .500 and wouldn’t expect to see more than a half dozen fights from him.

Daniel "Gumby" Vreeland has been an MMA writer for over a decade. He currently hosts The Top Turtle Podcast and is a member of the UFC's ranking panel.