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UFC on Fox 6: Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis Head-to-Toe Breakdown

James MacDonaldFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2013

UFC on Fox 6: Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis Head-to-Toe Breakdown

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    It may not be the main event of UFC on Fox 6, but there is a solid case to be made that Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis is the most intriguing bout on the entire card.

    Their highly anticipated tussle not only has tremendous title implications, but it may turn out to be the most aesthetically pleasing contest we have seen for quite some time.

    Both fighters possess, as Joe Rogan might say, “K-1 level striking.” Moreover, each is known for setting the kind of frenetic pace that would turn Cain Velasquez into Mark Coleman by fight’s end.

    In addition, Cerrone’s copious smack-talking has added some spice to a contest that already makes a vindaloo curry look like a plate of ice cream.

    So, to help kill some time between now and Saturday night, let’s take a closer look at how this fight breaks down.

Striking

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    Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis are so well-matched that it’s tough to choose between them in any one area, but particularly in their striking.

    Both men consider themselves stand-up fighters first and foremost, and that is where the majority of this bout is likely to take place.

    Truth be told, they are not dissimilar as strikers. Both possess a well-rounded striking game, but where they differ is in the styles they adopt.

    Cerrone boasts a traditional Muay Thai style, with a stance that utilises a light lead leg. He mixes up punches and kicks in fluid combinations, giving equal weight to upper and lower body attacks.

    Pettis, in contrast, comes from a Taekwondo background. Though he has adapted this into a more practical kickboxing style, he will still generally rely much more heavily on kicks, and particularly head kicks.

    They also differ in how they throw their kicks. Cerrone favours heavier switch kicks, while Pettis relies more on speed by throwing straight from the hip.

    Therefore, in terms of offence, it’s difficult to separate them. However, there is a defensive disparity that exists.

    Historically, “Cowboy” has proved to be much easier to hit. His fight with Nate Diaz displayed some of the holes in his defensive game. On the contrary, it’s rare that we see Pettis take damage.

    Unable to separate them on offence, I’m giving “Showtime” the nod based on his superior defence.

    Verdict: Anthony Pettis

Wrestling

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    I don’t expect wrestling to be much of a factor in this fight. Still, it’s another close call.

    Again, this probably comes down to defence and offence. For my money, Pettis may have the edge offensively, but Cerrone has shown some terrific takedown defence over the past couple of years.

    In terms of overall MMA wrestling, I’m inclined to give my vote to Cerrone, since he will better be able to dictate where the fight takes place.

    Verdict: Donald Cerrone

Ground Game

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    Both fighters have similar strengths on the ground. Neither man is what you might refer to as a “top,” given that they are more regularly on the bottom.

    They each do their best work from the guard, having frequently demonstrated their ability to throw up and chain together submissions from the bottom. This fact has contributed to the strength of their striking, since neither man fears being put on his back.

    However, Pettis is arguably the more well-rounded of the two. Based on what we have seen in past fights, he appears to be more comfortable in top position and has shown his ability to improve his position and do damage from the top.

    Verdict: Anthony Pettis 

Intangibles

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    As much as I admire Donald Cerrone, this category was practically invented for Anthony Pettis.

    “Showtime’s” creativity is one of his biggest assets inside the cage. His vast array of kicks, the angles from which he attacks and his ability to do the unexpected mean that he has to get the nod here.

    Verdict: Anthony Pettis

Final Verdict

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    This may come as a surprise, given that more individual categories have been scored for Anthony Pettis. However, I believe that Donald Cerrone will put it all together that little bit better than his opponent on Saturday night.

    His superior activity should prove decisive over the course of three extremely competitive rounds.

    Final Verdict: Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone via decision.

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