Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (15-2-0) vs. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (19-4-0-1)
Will ring rust play a factor in this fight? You have essentially one of the busiest fighters in the UFC taking on someone who is coming off a year layoff. To put it in perspective, since entering the UFC in 2011, Pettis has fought three times while Cerrone has fought seven. Pettis may have earned a title shot with his win over Benson Henderson at the last WEC event, but that was two years ago and before a loss to Clay Guida. Cerrone’s only loss in the Octagon has come at the hands of former number-one contender Nate Diaz in a fight where he was injured beforehand.
It will be interesting to see how this bout plays out. Both are capable in the stand-up department, but are not slouches on the ground, either. With nearly 30 professional kickboxing matches, you would think Cerrone would have the edge standing, but all of Pettis’s training at Rufousport has made him a very proficient kicker. Cerrone has the better ground game of the two, whether it is wrestling or submissions.
In their perspective battles with Jeremy Stephens, Pettis had trouble taking and keeping Stephens down, but Cerrone took him down a few times and could defend his shots. Plus, Cerrone actually has many submission wins, and was the only man to submit featherweight contender Dennis Siver in the last five years. In this fight, it just depends on where it takes place. Pettis has the ability to give Cerrone trouble on the feet, but if Cerrone takes it to the ground, he could have a better chance of winning this.
The Bottom Line:
Look for Cerrone to keep this fight standing, but he will throw in the occasional takedown to secure rounds. At this point, Pettis has not been able to grow as much as a fighter due to injuries. Cerrone by unanimous decision.