Top-10 Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweights, Donald Cerrone and Rafael Dos Anjos, went to war with high stakes on the line in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 27 last night (Aug. 28, 2013) from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.
See our full results and live play-by-play here.
The outcome may not have been what fans expected, as Dos Anjos scored the upset to jump up the 155-pound rankings.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt was able to turn the tables on the experienced kickboxer and actually owned the edge in the striking department. Let's break down how Dos Anjos scored the impressive win from "Circle City."
Both fighters threw kicks to open the bout. Dos Anjos switched to boxing and landed a good combination of hooks. The Brazilian looked fleet of foot, and pushed forward to stalk Cerrone down. "Cowboy" wasn't unleashing his usual output of strikes, and his opponent took advantage by rocking him with a huge right hand.
Cerrone responded by going for a triangle on the ground to no avail. The opening allowed Dos Anjos to blast him with several elbows to close the round.
Dos Anjos looked to press his striking advantage once again when the second stanza kicked off. He showed a surprisingly dangerous striking arsenal for a combatant not usually known for his stand-up prowess. Taking a page out of Anthony Pettis' book, Dos Anjos looked to continuously kick the body of Cerrone, snapping each one home with authority. His combinations were finding a home, but Cerrone fought back with a takedown and went for a guillotine, but his wily foe fought to get back to his feet, eventually gaining a takedown of his own to seal the round.
There was an air of urgency to Cerrone's game throughout the final frame. He finally opened up, landing sharp kicks and knees. Dos Anjos' output had slowed considerably since his frenetic first frame, but he made up for it by going for some late takedowns. Cerrone countered and landed well, winning the round.
Unfortunately it was too little, too late.
The No. 10-ranked Dos Anjos notched a unanimous decision victory over the No. 6 Cerrone to earn the biggest victory of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. The win also gives Dos Anjos a four-fight win streak and momentum in one of the most talent-laden divisions in UFC. A top-level bout awaits the Brazilian submission artist, who showed surprising stand-up to beat "Cowboy."
Cerrone will have to go back to Jackson's Submission Fighting and re-examine his gameplan. The exciting fighter will always put on a great show for the fans, but at this point, his chance at a title shot is diminishing fast.
One of the few knocks on Cerrone is that he fails to rise to the occasion against top opposition. Last night against Dos Anjos, there were shades of his one-sided loss against Nate Diaz at UFC 141. Cerrone may now find himself fighting an opponent outside the top 10 to get back on track.