You aren’t a fight fan if you aren’t excited for this fight, pure and simple. Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis are two of the most exciting and violence-enhanced fighters who go for finishes every step of the way. They aren’t fans of one another, either, and when guys don’t like each other and have fan-friendly styles it makes for some good MMA fun.
Fight Breakdown: If this isn’t anything but a good old fashioned injection of violence into the crowd I’ll be shocked; both guys come out swinging for the fences and don’t let up.
Cerrone is a first rate kickboxer who has a ton of submission wins set up because of how good his striking is. He throws a lot of leg kicks and doesn’t do anything flashy; he throws in volume more often than not. He can take a big shot, as he has a really good chin, and can deliver a big one as well. Look for him to come out and engage and be the aggressor; he’s at his best when his opponent is in retreat and he set the pace. Look for Cerrone to keep this standing; he rarely goes to the ground and only does when he’s rocked an opponent or he’s dragged down there. Cerrone’s TDD is underrated and his key to victory is to keep it standing and be the aggressor.
The only time he’s really been rocked in his career has come from guys with big time power … and Pettis has enough bang in his hands to put Cerrone down potentially. And that’s what makes this an interesting fight.
Pettis is known for the big flashy moves, like the “Showtime kick” that won him the WEC lightweight title, but he has a terrific base from years of Tae Kwon Do and first rate striking developed over the years. When you eliminate the flash from his highlight reel you see how crisp and clean his striking is. Pettis has big time power but he’s also technically sound. It gets lost when you watch him fight because the highlights are epic but his striking is clean.
Pettis is in the same spot as Cerrone in that regard; he rarely goes to the ground but he’s a holy terror when he does. On his back you can’t relax because he’s always going for a submission; he gave Clay Guida fits on the mat from the bottom because he kept going for anything he could off his back. He’s dangerous and active, two very bad things for someone trying to accrue riding time, and I imagine Cerrone isn’t going to be the one going for a takedown on Pettis. If anything I could see Pettis trying for a takedown or two to keep “The Cowboy” honest.
Both fighters prefer to stand and trade, of course, so expect that to happen for most of the time. This is a potential star-making fight and the first fight on Fox that has the potential of Bonnar-Griffin 1 on it.
Why It Matters: A big win here and the winner of the fight has a good chance at a lightweight title shot. Benson Henderson’s dance card is lined up with Gilbert Melendez but that’s a spring fight; barring injury the winner could face whoever has that belt this summer. And if Gil’s shoulder hasn’t healed all the way and he pulls out the winner is just an injury replacement away, as well. Both also are great rematches for Henderson, should he get past Gil.
Pettis vs. Henderson was the final fight in WEC history and might’ve been its greatest fight ever as well. Those two matchup well; both guys are stylistically similar and do all the right things against one another so well it’s a crapshoot as to who could win again. Pettis has the perfect style to match up with Benson Henderson and 25 more minutes of them in the cage is a fight to watch.
Cerrone vs. Henderson 1 wasn’t all that bad of a fight, either. It was exceptionally close and the rematch left a bad taste in Cerrone. He’s wanted a third fight for some time and it’s right in the palms of his hands with a win here.