The Octagon returns to PPV for the second time this month with UFC 219: Cyborg vs. Holm, a solid card headlined by one of the most anticipated women’s fights of all time. The final card of the year also features the debut of an up-and-coming 23-year-old Mark De La Rosa, who has collected multiple titles on the southwestern regional circuit. So...
Who is Mark De La Rosa?
23-year-old undefeated Texan Mark “The Bumblebee” De La Rosa will join his wife Montana De La Rosa as the first husband and wife team to compete under the UFC banner at the same time. De La Rosa earned this short notice fight by impressing at the recent Featherweight TUF auditions, where he made it through all of the cuts before being offered this fight. The prospect of a UFC contract was pretty bleak for De La Rosa after he pulled out of a Legacy FC main event fight against Steven Peterson. Legacy FC was owned by Mick Maynard, who went on to become the UFC’s matchmaker for the lower weight classes. Bloody Elbow’s Eddie Mercado got the full story of the weigh in altercations that led to De La Rosa pulling out of the Legacy main event.
What should you expect?
De La Rosa has had a tunnel-visioned approach to becoming a MMA champion since walking in to a boxing gym as a rambunctious 13-year-old. The Dallas/Fort Worth native is an above average wrestler and jiu-jitsu player, but he really shines with his boxing. De La Rosa has lighting quick hand speed and the head movement and footwork of a pro boxing veteran. A pro since the age of 20, De La Rosa has competed against a good mix of newcomers, journeymen and fellow prospects, with a combined record of 52-43-4, he has been brought along at an ideal pace to achieve success in the Octagon.
What this means for his debut?
De La Rosa will be the third man in two weeks scheduled to face former Flyweight title contender Tim Elliott. This fight has the makings of a potential upset, De La Rosa has excellent takedown defense and strikes mainly with his hands, leaving him less vulnerable to a kick catch takedown. When you also factor in that Elliott will be moving up to fight at Bantamweight for the first time in six years, a debut victory doesn't sound like such a long shot. However, De La Rosa is not a large bantamweight and will have a minuscule, if any size advantage. I would be willing to throw my money down on De La Rosa if it were any other veteran flyweight outside of the top ten moving up, but Elliott is so funky and savvy that he is a nightmare for anyone to fight on two weeks’ notice. Elliott will implement tricky movement and solid ground control that no three-year pro would be properly prepared to deal with. Elliott Unanimous Decision
If you have the time, this five-round brawl with Arthur Oliveira is well worth the watch: