UFC on ESPN+ 9 Squared Up: Cerrone vs Iaquinta

Jason Paglia

Friday, May 3, 2019 3:26 PM UTC

Friday, May. 3, 2019 3:26 PM UTC

The UFC Lightweight division takes center stage when they kick down the door of the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottowa , Canada this Saturday night.

<p>The fight card is average but the main and co-main event should be a fun watch. In the main event, fan favorite Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone takes on ‘Ragin’ Al Iaquinta. A fight that could have potential title implications down the line for Iaquinta considering he is currently a top 5 lightweight. In the co-main event top 10 middleweight staple Derek Brunson squares off against Canadian born Elias Theodorou. Enough small talk, let’s break down this main event!</p><p style="text-align:center;"><a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/fighting/int/ultimate-fighting-championship/donald-cerrone-vs-al-iaquinta-3785481/?mtid=126" target="_blank"><strong>DONALD CERRONE (35-11) vs AL IAQUINTA (14-4-1)</strong></a></p><p><strong>Donald Cerrone:</strong></p><p>Unless you are a real MMA fan, it’s hard to put into words how many people love Cowboy Cerrone. He might have more MMA fans then every other fighter on the roster, and deservedly so. Saturday night will be Cerrone’s 31st fight in the UFC. He will literally fight anyone, any weight class, any time. Cowboy holds the record for most UFC wins in the history of the promotion but the funny thing is, numerous times in his UFC career people have though he is washed up.</p><p>Cerrone came into his fight with Mike Perry two back, losing 3 of his last 4 fights and the questions started swirling again, and of course in typical Cowboy fashion he submitted Perry in the 2nd round. In his last fight against Alexander Hernandez who was a legitimate undefeated prospect Donald destroyed him on his way to another unanimous victory. Now Cerrone comes into Saturday nights main event on the back of two very impressive victories with all the ‘washed up’ chatter having gone by the waste side. He is one of the most wellrounded fighters in the history of the sport and deserves to be back in the main event. Take a look at Cerrone by the statistics.</p><p style="text-align:center;"><img alt src="https://middleeasy.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Donald-Cerrone.jpg" style="width:800px;height:450px;" /></p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p></p><h2>― STATS ―</h2><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>•Method of Victory •Significant Strikes (per/min) •Takedowns</p><p>▪10 wins by TKO ▪ 4.09 Landed ▪ 34.78% Accuracy</p><p>▪8 wins by Decision ▪ 4.02 Absorbed ▪ 71.56% Defended</p><p>▪17 wins by Submission</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p></p><h2>― PROS ―</h2><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>• Striking (Donald Cerrone’s striking is world class, phenomenal hand speed and muscle twitch, the power in his hands to end a fight at any time and absolutely devastating leg kicks. Cowboy’s striking is legit. Period.)</p><p>• Ground Game (I said earlier he is one of the most well rounded fighters in all of mixed martial arts and this is why. Donald Cerrrone’s ground game is world class. People sleep on his ground game all the time but in terms of MMA fighters in the biggest promotion in the world his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is world class. 35 WINS 17 BY SUBMISSION AND HE WILL SUBMIT YOU EVERYWHERE. Even off his back, and that can’t be overstated.</p><p>• Range (Cerrone is a master at being able to land anything he wants from the perfect distance to get in and out, while avoiding game changing damage. That is an artform, and he paints a beautiful picture.)</p><p>• Fight IQ (The man is fighting in his 31st fight in the UFC. He has seen it all , he has done it all.)</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p></p><h2>― CONS ―</h2><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>• Pressure (One of the only CONS that Cowboy has anytime he is in the Octagon is how he handles pressure. If you come right at Cowboy and keep him moving backwards, his defense goes out the window… like completely. He cannot fight Saturday night off his back foot. His success is often tied to whether he is moving forward or backwards in a fight. He must move forward.)</p><p>• Takedowns (I may be nitpicking here but an area where Cowboy could improve is definitely his takedowns, specifically his double leg. Landing 34% of your takedowns in the UFC is not great, but it is serviceable.)</p><p> </p><p><strong>Al Iaquinta: </strong></p><p>‘Ragin’ Al Iaquinta isn’t exactly what you would call a traditional UFC fighter, but he continues to defy expectations. The fight pride of New York is actually a real estate agent in a different life, butt the MMA world came to know Iaquinta from his time on The Ultimate Fighter reality show. Iaquinta made it all the way to the TUF Finale where he lost by rear naked choke to Michael Chiesa. Ragin Al is basically a boxer who fights in the UFC. He has no ground game… like at all. He has one victory by submission of his 14 wins. Iaquinta did wrestle briefly in college but clearly from his 28% takedown rate in the UFC, his wrestling career hasn’t translated very well to MMA. With Iaquinta he is basically going to fight you in a phone booth, where he will either knock you out or try to out strike to win a decision on the cards. I am an Al Iaquinta fan, but he is one of the few MMA fighters on the planet that just doesn’t scare you all that much.</p><p>The real estate agent does however have a couple of really nice wins under his belt in the UFC. Two of those victories came against Kevin Lee, a lightweight top 10 staple. He has a very close split decision victory over Jorge Masvidal who is probably in line for an eventual title shot against welterweight champ Kamara Usman, off a phenomenal knockout victory over Darren Till. Perhaps Iaquinta’s most impressive feat came in a loss to the most dominant fighter in UFC today in Khabib Nurmagomedov. Ragin Al fought Nurmagomedov on three days notice to save the fight card at UFC 223. He went 5 rounds against the Lightweight king (which is an accomplishment in itself) where he lost a unanimous decision. For all the real estate agent jokes, Iaquinta is currently the #4 ranked Lightweight fighter in the world. He will have his hands full on Saturday night when he squares up with Cowboy but for now, Let’s take a look at Ragin Al by the statistics.</p><p style="text-align:center;"><img alt src="https://usatmmajunkie.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/al-iaquinta-ufc-223-official-weigh-ins.jpg?w=1000&amp;h=600&amp;crop=1" style="width:800px;height:480px;" /></p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p></p><h2>― STATS ―</h2><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>•Method of Victory •Significant Strikes (per/min) •Takedowns</p><p>▪7 wins by TKO ▪ 4.28 Landed ▪ 28.57% Accuracy</p><p>▪6 wins by Decision ▪4.04 Absorbed ▪ 77.08% Defended</p><p>▪1 wins by Submission</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p></p><h2>― PROS ―</h2><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>• Boxing ( The best and probably the only substantial tool in Iaquinta’s offense is his boxing. It’s tough to even say striking because he doesn’t really use the lower half of his body all that much when striking so lets call a spade a spade, it’s boxing. His hand speed isn’t particularly fast either, but he will take the hits in the pocket to land his shots and he is effective.)</p><p>• Stamina (Iaquinta proved in the 5 round fight with Nurmagomedov that he has a gas tank for days. He will not lose this fight because he gasses out. If he does lose it will be for an entirely different reason. I would rate his gas tank slightly higher than his opponent Saturday.)</p><p>• Counterstriking (Iaquinta has a solid counterstriking game, he fights in a phonebooth and lives in the pocket. He is always looking to land his punches after his opponent has thrown a strike which should be good for him considering the volume of strikes he will see on Saturday.)</p><p> </p><p> </p><p></p><h2><strong>― CONS ―</strong></h2><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>•Ground Game ( It is close to nonexistent. Yes he wrestled briefly in college but not long enough for it to matter in the Octagon, and his jiu-jitsu game is weak to put it bluntly. He has one submission victory in his entire MMA career. He is fighting a man that has more submission wins then Iaquinta has wins period. If this fight goes to the ground Ragin Al is in trouble, big trouble.)</p><p>• Speed (Al isn’t very fast at anything. He is even slow at tracking his opponents in the octagon, never mind his hand speed.</p><p>• Takedowns (Much like Cowboy, Al Iaquinta is not very good at taking his opponent to the mat. 28% is subpar in the UFC, you would have to think that both these fighters will look to keep it standing for as long as they can, even though Cowboy is a menace on the ground.)</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p></p><h2>THE VERDICT</h2><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>OK friends, I have read a bunch of breakdowns on this fight this week and it appears that I am on an island. Most people are picking Al Iaquinta, I assume that is why he is still the favorite and it is Thursday. I took Donald Cerrone earlier in the week at (2.40). Amazingly Iaquinta is still currently (1.75) and I can’t figure out why. Is beating Kevin Lee twice really that impressive? Kevin Lee is ok, he isn’t great. Is the mere fact that Iaquinta lasted 5 rounds against Nurmagomedov (all of which he got his ass kicked) a positive? I mean I guess. The best win that Iaquinta has is a razor thin victory that could have gone either way against Jorge Masvidal. Personally I probably would have give the fight to Masvidal but ok that is a huge win for Iaquinta because I am sky high on Jorge who at some point will fight for the strap at 175. As good as Cerrone is on the mat with his submission skills he is a better striker. In fact this is the best striker that Al Iaquinta will fight since the Masvidal fight which could have gone either way. Iaquinta survives a lot of the time because of how tough he is.</p><p>Donald Cerrone is as tough if not tougher then Iaquinta. Cerrone’s last win against the blue chip prospect that is Hernanadez was more impressive then anything Al Iaquinta has done in 5 years (aside from maybe the Masvidal fight). If that Masvidal fight is the barometer on how Iaquinta handles really good strikers then I have to give the edge to Cowboy in this fight. This is going to come down one thing. Can Al Iaquinta fight this entire fight on the feet inside the phonebooth? I don’t think he can. Cowboy’s fight IQ is through the roof and he knows the best chance for him to win this fight is to stay at kicking range and pick Iaquinta apart from the outside. Iaquinta is not the super pressure fighter that historically gives Cerrone a problem. Cowboy has WAY more avenues to win this fight. If it goes to the ground Iaquinta is in trouble, period. On the feet if Cowboy stays at range then Iaquinta is in trouble, If it stays inside Cowboy’s range then I think the fight is even. I don’t think Iaquinta is better anywhere, maybe even in some aspects but not better. If that is the case and you are going to give me plus money to take the fighter with more victories then anyone in UFC history, who just came off back to back victories against Mike Perry and Alex Hernandez my response is……OK. Take the dog.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p></p><h2>THE PICK</h2><p></p><p> </p><p> </p><p><strong>Donald Cerrone to win at 23/20 (2.15)</strong></p>
comment here