Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone is set to take on Nate Diaz at UFC 141 in a lightweight bout that could catapult either man into title contention.
2011 has already been a huge year for Cerrone, who has gone 4-0 in the UFC since debuting in February, defeating high-level opponents like Charles Oliveira and Dennis Siver.
At UFC 141, Cerrone will be looking to close out his year in impressive fashion, by taking out a tough opponent in the form of Nate Diaz.
In many ways, the two competitors are mirror images of each other.
Both are unusually tall and lanky for the lightweight division, with effective striking and a high-level ground game.
What sets Cowboy apart from Diaz is that he is a more complete striker, coming from a kickboxing background, whereas Diaz is more of a pure boxer.
Also, Cerrone has a more muscular frame, which could indicate a strength advantage.
In order to walk away from the cage victorious, Cerrone needs to do a few things right.
First, he needs to keep the pressure on Diaz.
Nate, like his brother Nick, is at his best when his opponents allow him to get into a comfortable groove with his boxing.
To counteract this, Cowboy should keep Diaz moving backwards as much as possible and use his kicks to nullify Diaz's slight reach advantage.
Cerrone should also be conscious of the fact that no one in the UFC has ever finished Diaz, which means that he might need to win this fight on points.
As the bigger fighter, and given that Diaz has shown mediocre takedown defense in the past, Cerrone should look to score some takedowns throughout the fight to cement himself as the winner, if it does go to the judges.
If he manages to do both those things, it should be a good night for Cerrone.
He's defeated a higher class of opponents than Diaz has and is the more complete fighter. As long as he fights smart tonight, Cerrone should have no trouble going 5-0 in 2011.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!