FIGHT CLUB WEEKLY 2.20.2018 - THE COWBOY RIDES AGAIN
It was a do-or-die situation (sort of) for Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone going into Fight Night Austin this past weekend. Initially, his move up to welterweight was going well until he met Jorge Masvidal early last year which led to a three-fight losing streak which opened the door for the armchair MMA analysts starting to predict his imminent ride off into the sunset. It was unlikely that his job was on the line this past weekend; Cowboy has been a fan favorite due to his anytime-anywhere attitude about fighting and his maverick lifestyle. Nonetheless, he needed to win this fight, just to stay relevant in one of the most competitive divisions in the UFC.
Yancy Medeiros, ranked 15 prior to the fight, was another veteran who prior to his career in the UFC fought in Strikeforce and carried an undefeated record. He was on a three-fight wining streak, so this had the trappings of one of those situations where the old guy on a losing streak gets sacrificed the dude on the rise can add juice to his career.
It was a short night for both guys. They touched gloves, embraced and went to work and at the end of the first round, late in the first round, Medieros was on the canvas. It was a close, the stats showed Cowboy with a slight lead, but in the end, the score cards were taken out of the equation. So what’s next for Cowboy? He called out Khabib Nurmagomedov at lightweight, but that’s unlikely since Khabib is booked to face Tony Ferguson for what may or may not be a fight to determine who holds the lightweight championship. At welterweight, there’s a Neil Magney fight or maybe a possible rematch with Darren Till. Maybe he drops down to lightweight and faces someone in the top 10 such as Kevin Lee, Justin Gaethje or even the coveted Nate Diaz fight. Cerrone and Diaz faced each other way back at UFC 141 in 2011. It’s hard to think that a rematch between the two wouldn’t do good pay-per-view numbers.
Despite the relative lack of “star power” on the card, UFC Fight Night Austin was a solid card with some great fights. The co-main event of Derrick Lewis versus Marcin Tybura was a fight that nobody thought would go the distance, but it wasn’t until the third round that Lewis was able to KO Tybura who was clearly in the lead due to grappling control and significant strikes. Lewis overcame adversity and displayed a huge improvement with his conditioning, weathering a grueling ground war with Tybura in the dominant top position.
James Vick maintained his winning streak by getting the decision victor over Francisco Trinaldo. Though it was a solid performance, it lacked the breakout quality that Vick was most likely hoping for to improve his ranking and get him an opponent in the top 10. Two other newcomers that warrant attention are Curtis Millender who defeated the veteran Thiago Alves by KO and Brandon Davis who defeated Steven Peterson utilizing his “death-by-a-thousand-cuts” style of Muay Thai.
I actually had Thibault Gouti defeating Sage Northcutt but I’m at peace with Sage getting the decision. Though Gouti was able to score takedowns and establish control, he didn’t really advance his position. Aside from rocking Northcutt a couple of times, the striking was pretty much a one-sided affair. One of the biggest surprises was the improvement in Northcutt’s grappling thanks in no small part to Urijah Faber and Team Alpha Male. Keep in mind that he has only been working out of that camp for 3 months.
Next up, UFC Fight Night Orlando!
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