A lightweight bout between a long-time UFC and WEC title contender and a surging Brazilian fighter on a solid win streak gets prime placement on the FOX main card as Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone fights once again inside the Octagon when he meets Adriano Martins. Cerrone is looking to remain in the win column after getting back there with a submission win over Evan Dunham at UFC 167 in November. Cerrone is 4-2 over his last six fights. Martins enters the Octagon for the second time coming off a submission win over Daron Cruickshank at UFC Fight Night 32 in November. Martins is riding a six-fight win streak and is 12-1 over his last 13 fights overall.
Fight Breakdown- Cerrone is one of the most active fighters the UFC has on its’ roster as he has fought eleven times since moving over from the WEC when it was merged into the UFC at the end of 2010. Cerrone fought four times in 2013 after fighting just twice in 2012. 2011 was Cerrone’s first year fighting under the UFC banner, and he fought five times, winning his first four before dropping a decision to Nate Diaz at UFC 141 in December 2011. Cerrone has just three losses in the UFC- to Diaz, Rafael Dos Anjos and current UFC Lightweight Champion, Anthony Pettis. He seems to be a fighter who can beat the opponents he is supposed to beat, but when he meets fellow title contenders, he seems to come up just short in winning and reaching that elusive title shot he is looking for. Cerrone has designs on fighting six times in 2014, but for that to happen, he will need to not only continue his winning ways, but win quickly and not sustain tons of damage in his fights. Cerrone is currently ranked eighth in the UFC’s official lightweight rankings.
Martins comes into his second fight in the UFC looking to continue the momentum of winning six straight fights. He signed with Zuffa to fight in Strikeforce in 2012, and he debuted in Strikeforce in the very final event the promotion held. He scored a unanimous decision win over Jorge Gurgel last January, and following the event he was moved over to the UFC’s lightweight roster. It wasn’t until November that Martins debuted as he fought in his home country of Brazil. Martins took on Daron Cruickshank in his UFC debut, and he scored a second-round submission win with a straight armbar to run his win streak to the current total of six, and to make it twelve wins in his last thirteen fights. Martins also took home “Submission Of The Night” honors for the win. His fight against Cerrone on Saturday night will represent just the second time that Martins has fought outside of his native Brazil in what will be the 32nd fight of his career. Martins has been finished just once in his career, and a win over Cerrone would represent the biggest win of his career and give his fight career a huge boost.
If Cerrone comes out with the right mindset and the motivation to put on a good performance, this is going to be a very tough fight for Martins. When Cerrone comes out fast, he is generally able to show off his strong kickboxing in the opening frame before changing it up and mixing in his solid ground attack in the final rounds. If Cerrone comes out slow and sluggish, Martins has the chance to take control of the fight early. Martins is a solid, well-rounded fighter, and he has won two world championships in jiu-jitsu. However, he seems to prefer to finish his opponents with his striking rather than his submissions as he has eleven knockout wins to just three submission wins. He has the slight power edge in his hands, but where Cerrone is better on the feet is with his overall range of kickboxing. Cerrone attacks with a lot of volume and mixes his transitions from punching to kicking to landing knees flawlessly. Martins tends to keep his hands low, and Cerrone isn’t afraid to attack the head with his kicks, and he could put Martins in a lot of trouble if he is able to tag him as he changes levels.
Martins may look to move the fight to the mat, but Cerrone will be able to more than hold his own on the ground with Martins. Martins may look to use his striking to set up the takedowns, but Cerrone has improved his wrestling to the point where taking him down isn’t quite as easy as it used to be. If the fight does go to the mat, Martins has some good ground-and-pound, but Cerrone works well from his back and will look for transitions and triangle chokes with his long legs. Cerrone has a very active guard so it will be up to Martins to change positions on the mat if he is able to secure top control. Cerrone does have 14 submission wins under his belt, and that may be enough to engage Martins to a standup battle. With that being the case, if Cerrone becomes the aggressor, it will become his fight to lose. Martins has the power and is looking to make a name for himself, but Cerrone tends to beat the competition he faces that is on the level of Martins. Cerrone needs to be calm and relaxed but aggressive if he is going to win. Martins needs to keep his hands up and be on the attack at all times if he is going to take this fight. All signs point to a showcase for Cerrone, and he should be able to pull off another solid finish for the win.
Why It Matters- Cerrone has found himself on the cusp of title contention several times only to be derailed by top five fighters when he gets the opportunity to cash in on his success. He beats the opponents he is expected to beat, but hasn’t been able to get over the hump and beat a fellow title contender. He could find himself back in that title talk with a win over Martins, and it would likely lead him to another type of opponent that he has been unable to get by. He claims to have refound his love for the sport, and it is up to him to prove it. Martins is looking to establish himself in the tough and crowded UFC lightweight division, and a win over Cerrone would be the biggest win of his career. Martins is hungry to prove himself, and is a fighter that Cerrone better not overlook as he could surprise him big time. Martins is dangerous despite not being well known in the UFC circles. This is his big chance and a big opportunity.
Tags: Adriano Martins, Donald Cerrone, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC, UFC on Fox 10