Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis will square off on Saturday night at UFC on FOX 6 in a featured lightweight bout. The two have been discussed as potential opponents for months, and a wealth of pre-fight trash talk has only served to fuel the fire behind this intriguing collision.
Since both fighters are former mainstays of the WEC and current top-10 ranked lightweights. it’s a wonder these two didn’t meet earlier in their careers.Time however is irrelevant at this point. The past is water under the bridge, and the present is really all that matters for these two.
It’s time to fight.
Knowing the penchant of both men to stand and exchange violent strikes, it’s safe to make a couple guarantees regarding the bout: punches and kicks will be thrown.
But there’s a whole lot more to what we’re guaranteed to see come Saturday night.
Both Cerrone and Pettis have chucked numerous insults and bold declarations at one another in the lead up to this fight. The two clearly aren’t BFFs, and we’re going to not only see that Saturday, but we’ll hear it as well.
Look for Cerrone to work his psychological warfare early, slinging expletives and demeaning phrases in Pettis’ direction early. It won’t be long before Pettis allows his emotions to trickle into the fight.
Pettis will no respond to the verbal abuse of Cerrone with kindness. He’ll also give in to insulting the Jackson’s MMA standout a few times of his own.
Anthony Pettis recently spoke with Sherdog and predicted that Cerrone would be the first man to attempt a takedown.
He’s absolutely right.
But don’t expect Cerrone to be shooting desperation shots on Pettis, as that’s not going to happen.
What is going to happen is this: Donald will showcase an improving fight IQ and look to befuddle “Showtime”.
Cerrone’s shown an improved offensive wrestling attack in recent years (most notably during his WEC 51 rematch with Jamie Varner), and the defeat he suffered at the hands of Nate Diaz in the co-main event of UFC 141 hopefully taught him that if he’s failing to get the upper-hand during a slugfest, he’s got to rely on tools other than striking.
Cerrone knows Pettis is the most dangerous striker he’s faced since Diaz, and he’s going to look to confuse the Roufusport standout early and often.
I wouldn’t label either of these men as profuse bleeders. However, we’re going to see some huge strikes thrown in the center of the cage this weekend, and you can bet the bank that plenty will land, some of which will land flush.
While both men are durable enough to withstand the power headed for their domes, skin is skin, and no matter how thick it may be, if you hit it hard enough, it splits.
Look for the nontraditional here, as plenty of blood will be shed in this encounter.
Both Anthony and Donald are known for their diverse striking, and a key ingredient for both men is the high kick. Donald’s is rangier, while Pettis’ looks to have a bit more pop behind his.
Neither man will put fear of the take-down at the forefront of his game plan, and that’s going to open up the floodgates for high kicks.
Probably too many to count.
The precision striking of these men leads to knockdowns, frequently.
We all remember Pettis’ movie-like kick that floored Benson Henderson at WEC 53, and it’s hard to forget Cerrone’s wild come-from-behind barrage that floored Melvin Guillard at UFC 150.
Those are just single examples. Believe me when I say (in case you haven’t followed their careers) that both these guys drop opponents fairly regularly.
While Pettis’ ability to remain vertical after eating bombs, Cerrone’s been knocked down on numerous occasions. Also keep in mind that even though Pettis can take a shot upstairs like no-man’s business, Cerrone is also fully capable of taking a man’s legs right out from under him with his devastating low-kicks.
Whether it be Cerrone or Pettis, or both, somebody is going to hit the canvas Saturday... at least once.
These two really don’t like each other, at all.
However, they’re both respectable men inside the cage who'll place emphasis on professionalism.
After hearing these two cuss each other out for a handful of rounds and seeing plenty of taunting in the process, we’ll witness an honest expression of respect. These are two top-flight athletes who understand the level of work required to reach the upper echelons of the sport.
Don’t expect either to forget that understanding once the final bell has sounded. Whether they like each other or not, both man will respect the other after the final bell sounds.
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