Octagon Oracles: Mike Breeden

James Colwell

Grade: D+

With the problems Covid has caused for international travel, especially with visa processing time, the UFC has had to rely almost exclusively on fighters from the US regional scene when they need short-notice replacements. That’s the case again this week, as Midwestern veteran Mike “Money” Breeden steps in to take on Alexander Hernandez after Leonardo Santos had to withdraw. It’s a brutal debut fight, as Hernandez is a top 20-25 lightweight in the UFC, but let’s dive into what Breeden brings to the table in this week’s edition of Octagon Oracles.

Breeden is 32 but has only been fighting professionally since 2017, so he’s a bit of a late bloomer in MMA terms. He trains out of Glory MMA under the tutelage of James Krause, so he’s undoubtedly been getting in some great training sessions against quality partners. He has a 10-3 record and two of those losses came against fighters who were undefeated at the time in Lucas Clay and Anthony Romero, both of whom are great prospects. The Romero fight took place in the 2020 Contender Series, so the UFC brass were clearly familiar with him and comfortable giving him a chance after he bounced back with two straight wins. 8 of his 10 victories come by knockout, which is always a good way to get yourself noticed by Dana White, including a spectacular flying knee to take out fellow recent short-notice UFC signee Brandon Jenkins back in 2019. However, that win over Jenkins is by far the best of his career, and that lack of quality competition is my main concern with Breeden. The two wins since that DWCS loss were against 9-5 and 12-8 regional stalwarts who clearly aren’t next-level talents. He’s never challenged for a regional title at any level, or even been booked as a main event, which is not a great sign given the proliferation of organizations in the area where he fights.

Breeden is undeniably a powerful striker but I see Hernandez as superior in every area of MMA, and I really don’t see a path to a Breeden victory outside of landing a lucky shot with something unexpected and spectacular.

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