Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight kickboxers Donald Cerrone and Yancy Medeiros will clash TONIGHT (Feb. 18, 2018) inside Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
Cerrone made his name by picking apart and finishing foes on the feet, but lately the tables have turned. “Cowboy” has been stopped in two of his previous three bouts, getting out-struck in each of those matches. Another loss here could mean the end for Cerrone, a situation he’s very much looking to avoid.
Alternatively, Medeiros moved up to 170 lbs. just three fights ago, but the results have been immediate. The Hawaiian has scored the victory via stoppage in each of those bouts, and his last outing produced a “Fight of the Year” candidate.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each man.
Record: 32-10 (1)
Key Wins: Rick Story (UFC 202), Matt Brown (UFC 206), Eddie Alvarez (UFC 178), Benson Henderson (UFC Fight Night 59)
Key Losses: Jorge Masvidal (UFC on FOX 23), Darren Till (UFC Fight Night 118), Robbie Lawler (UFC 214), Rafael dos Anjos (UFC on FOX 17, UFC Fight Night 27)
Keys to Victory: Cerrone is a brutal kicker. He targets the legs, body, and head with equal violence, looking to break his foe down and eventually seal the deal, usually either with a big high kick or submission after sending his foe to the mat with strikes.
In this bout, Cerrone has an all-around technical advantage. He’s the better wrestler, more accomplished submission fighter, and Cerrone’s Muay Thai is better — at least on paper — than his foe’s kickboxing. That said, Cerrone has historically struggled with pocket boxing, and Medeiros can definitely crack.
Best to avoid that range.
With that in mind, Cerrone wants to be all the way in or all the way out. While striking with Medeiros, Cerrone should be firing lots of kicks to slow the Hawaiian, and his snap kick up the middle should be a constant factor in deterring Medeiros from advancing.
If Medeiros really pushes forward, Cerrone would be wise to drop for a reactive takedown. His double leg shot against a foe pressuring is actually quite good, and Cerrone would likely do good damage from top position as well as threaten with submissions.
Key Wins: Alex Oliveira (UFC 218), Erick Silva (UFC 212), Sean Spencer (UFC 203), John Makdessi (UFC 194)
Key Losses: Francisco Trinaldo (UFC 198), Dustin Poirier (UFC Fight Night 68)
Keys to Victory: Medeiros is a crafty kickboxer who works from both stances and is very nasty offensively. He may be hittable, but Medeiros has proven his chin and toughness multiple times, and he’s trickier than expected on the mat.
Lately, Medeiros has worked from Southpaw more often, which will be a wise strategy against Cerrone. “Cowboy” historically has struggled with Southpaws; the stance takes away his switch kick a bit, and it also leaves his vulnerable liver more exposed to power shots.
From Southpaw, Medeiros should be pressuring. Just a couple months ago, Darren Till completely dismantled Cerrone with pressure, feints, and a clean left hand. Medeiros should be looking to replicate that performance exactly. The game plan to defeating Cerrone has been written and proven, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy to apply in the cage, Medeiros still must follow the strategy to give himself the best chance at victory.
Bottom Line: It’s a crossroads bout for both men.
At the moment, Cerrone is on an undeniable skid. He had never lost consecutive bouts prior to his current three-fight losing streak, and Cerrone’s generally great durability has faltered as well. It’s worth noting that Cerrone has fought excellent fighters who have targeted his weakness, but Cerrone is now in a position where he must prove himself once more.
With a win, Cerrone is back. He’s had rough patches and bounced back strong before, and that’s certainly possible. If he comes up short, however, Cerrone will need to receive a pretty drastic step back in competition.
For Medeiros, he’s on the best win streak of his entire career and coming off a huge knockout win. Cerrone may be on a skid, but defeating the veteran still means something. It would assure Medeiros’ position in the top 15, and it would likely set him up for a top 10 opponent moving forward. Sadly, Medeiros is on the fringe ranked as No.15, so defeat could drop him a notch to open up a spot for a different up-and-coming prospect,
TONIGHT at UFC Fight Night 126, Donald Cerrone and Yancy Medeiros will square off. Which man will earn the victory?