UFC Lightweight bout: Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone
Odds: (+250 Diaz / -325 Cerrone )
Betting Pick: Cerrone
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In the semi-main event, Ultimate Fighter winner Nate Diaz will square off against WEC standout Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a featured Lightweight bout. Both of these guys are dynamic, experienced veterans with top-notch ground games, and with Cerrone being on a tear since making his UFC debut, this fight could well have implications on the Lightweight title picture. Diaz is riding the momentum of a dominating win over Takanori Gomi and is looking to prove that he is one of the top players at 155 pounds after a disappointing stint at Welterweight, so this should be a very competitive and entertaining bout.
Nathan Diaz, whose brother Nick Diaz is set to challenge Carlos Condit for the Interim UFC Welterweight Title, is a very unorthodox and effective fighter with one of the most prolific ground games in the division. Like his brother, Diaz has very unorthodox boxing that lacks one-punch power, but he is capable of piling on punishment from odd angles and his strikes are difficult to defend against. On the ground, Diaz has world-class submissions from every conceivable position to go along with brilliant sweeps and escapes. He is not a very physical fighter and his wrestling and takedown defense are both somewhat questionable, but he has great judo throws from the clinch and is extremely durable and difficult to finish.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is currently riding a six fight winning streak, with his last being a first-round destruction of versatile German veteran Dennis Siver. Cerrone is a dominant grappler with great wrestling and a remark ability to secure submissions from a variety of positions. He hasn’t finished many opponents with strikes, which causes some people to underestimate his striking prowess. He is very fast, technical, and accurate on the feet, and his crisp,textbook style will providing an interesting foil to Diaz’s less traditional style. There is no question that Cerrone is the more athletic of these two, and his ability to overpower Diaz might be his best tool in this fight.
This has all the makings of a competitive, back and forth affair. These guys have very similar styles and excel in similar areas, so this should be a great fight. In the end, I think Cerrone’s physicalstrength advantage and superior wrestling will be the difference makers here. I think Diaz has better jiu-jitsu,but if Cerrone is scoring points with takedowns and controlling position, Ithink his submission defense is good enough to keep him from getting caught and finished. I think this is going to the judges, and the decision will be narrow, but Cerrone should be able to do enough to pull out the close win.
Prediction: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone by Decision