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UFC 202 fight card: Rick Story vs Donald Cerrone full fight preview

Rick Story and Donald Cerrone will face off this Saturday (Aug. 20, 2016) at UFC 202 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In a considerable clash of styles, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Find out below!

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Saffiedine vs Story Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight contenders Rick Story and Donald Cerrone will go to war this Saturday (Aug. 20, 2016) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In the last three years, Story has only lost two fights, a pair of very debatable split decision losses. While he could easily be on a seven-fight win streak, Story has officially won his last three in strong performances, earning himself a position back inside the Top 10. Meanwhile, Cerrone genuinely looks better than ever since making the jump to 170 pounds. "Cowboy" finished his last two opponents in slick fashion, and he’s looking to make it three straight here.

Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both athletes:

Rick Story
Record: 19-8
Key Wins: Johny Hendricks (The Ultimate Fighter Finale 12), Tarec Saffiedine (UFC Fight Night 88), Gunnar Nelson (UFC Fight Night 53), Thiago Alves (UFC 130)
Key Losses: Demian Maia (UFC 153), Kelvin Gastelum (UFC 171)
Keys to Victory: Working from the Southpaw stance, Story is an exceptional pressure fighter. Using his wrestling background and swarming punches, Story backs his opponent into the fence and exhausts him, forcing his foes to endure a constant assault of body shots, low kicks, and takedown attempts.

That strategy has worked to great success against quite a few distance kickers in the past, and Story is looking to add Cerrone's name to that list.

Opposite "Cowboy," Story needs to be wary of a couple things. Pressuring Cerrone has long been the established path to victory, but the kickboxer has added a couple tools to make that strategy difficult.

Namely, Cerrone's snap kick to the mid-section and intercepting step knee are dangerous to a shorter, pressuring wrestler like Story. In order to avoid those strikes, lateral movement is key, as an outside angle would allow Story to close the distance without much risk of eating those shots.

Additionally, Story needs to make full use of the clinch whenever he's able to latch on. The night's headliner, Nate Diaz, did an excellent job of stuffing Cerrone into the fence and ripping his body when Cerrone looked for the double-collar clinch, which is a technique Story could definitely utilize.

VS.

Donald Cerrone
Record: 30-7 (1)
Key Wins: Patrick Cote (UFC Fight Night 89), Benson Henderson (UFC Fight Night 59), Eddie Alvarez (UFC 178), Myles Jury (UFC 182)
Key Losses: Rafael dos Anjos (UFC on FOX 17), UFC Fight Night 27), Anthony Pettis (UFC on FOX 6)
Keys to Victory: Cerrone has been a powerful kicker with nasty jiu-jitsu since way back in the WEC days. While he's undoubtedly sharpened those skills, he showed off far cleaner boxing in his last match than he's ever displayed previously, becoming the first man to knock out Patrick Cote in the process.

This match will be a serious test of his improved abilities.

Historically, pressure strikers with solid wrestling have never been an easy match up for Cerrone. The aforementioned snap kick and step knee and some improved footwork have definitely helped out, as Cerrone now can punish opponents for trying to get in close without giving up bad position.

However, Story is a Top 10 talent at Welterweight as well as possessing that skill set, which makes this a different type of challenge for Cerrone.

To turn away "The Horror," Cerrone needs to keep his back off the fence and rip into Story's body at every opportunity. Footwork is the key to the first half, as Cerrone has improved at not backing straight into the fence.

As for the second part, Cerrone's up the middle strikes should work wonders as Story advances, as will the standard round kick against a Southpaw. Story pushes a grueling pace, but he'll be the first one to tire if his mid-section is battered.

Bottom Line: This is a very high-level style clash of inside boxer and range kicker. Depending on which man better implements his game plan, either fighter could dominate and look spectacular, or we could be in for an all-out battle as both men try to impose their wills.

Story has struggled a bit to break into the title mix since his six fight win streak back in 2011, but this is a major opportunity. If he can topple the former title contender, Story could be in line for a Top 5 contender. On the other hand, a loss drops him a few places in the rankings, and he’ll need another win streak to climb the ranks.

Similarly, Cerrone is looking to prove himself a player in the Welterweight title picture. He has looked excellent so far, but a victory over a longtime contender like Story would definitely give him the last bit of push he needs to be recognized as the real deal at 170 pounds.

Like his opponent, a loss would be a setback. There are a lot fighters trying to climb the Welterweight ranks, and any defeat puts Cerrone at the back of the line.

At UFC 202, Rick Story and Donald Cerrone will put on a show. Which fighter will leave the cage with his hand raised?

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