Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone were probably thrilled to sign their respective contracts for this lightweight fight, which will serve as the UFC 141 co main event this evening (Dec. 30, 2011) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
That's because there's no chance either one will look to pull out a lay-and-pray decision.
Diaz and Cerrone benefit from long frames for the 155-pound division, using stand up and excellent Brazilian jiu-jitsu to be successful. However, the adjustment factor for both will be critical here. Diaz's hands are sharp in some sequences, a bit lazy in others, as he'll slap with punches and dare opponents to try and counter him. Cerrone's sound kickboxing and solid kicks, meanwhile, might be more technical than Diaz has dealt with in several fights.
It's the kind of fight to sort out who can compete at the next level.
With Cerrone's four wins in the UFC since debuting for the promotion earlier this year, he's coming into the fight with considerable momentum, notching victories where he's shown improvement in every phase of his game. His wrestling has improved too.
Diaz, meanwhile, is back at 155 pounds after realizing welterweights were just too big for him at this point in his career. His guard remains of the game's better ones, along with exceptional conditioning and durability.
Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the UFC 141 fight between Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone:The Breakdown
Cerrone's striking poses problems for Diaz, who typically relies on a busy, pesky style of jolting opponents and slipping their shots, messing up with range and comfort levels. "The Cowboy" is also very good in clinches and at shooting knees at opponents who look to close the gap, which is something Diaz can be a little lazy with at times.
On the mat, both are exceptionally good at jiu-jitsu and the intricate battles-within-the-battles to maintain or improve position. They probably cancel one another out if it hits the mat, but Cerrone figures to score more takedowns if it does go there, which gives him an edge with the judges.
Both also have stellar chins, so this one figures to go the distance.
Cerrone's better stand up and strength in tie-ups, however, should be just enough for him to earn a close decision in an exciting, back-and-forth battle.
Donald Cerrone via decision
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