For the first time in his long career, Cerrone came into a fight on an extended losing streak. It still wasn’t clear whether that loss streak was the result of elite competition, being too heavy, or a true decline, but “Cowboy” was looking to prove that he still had plenty left in the tank. It’s been three fights since Medeiros made the move to Welterweight, and the results have been immediate. A trio of stoppage victories saw him score the No.15 spot in the division — an accomplishment he never reached at 155 lbs. — and earned him his first main event slot opposite Cerrone.
Medeiros came out aggressive, but Cerrone was sharp early, landing a hard counter immediately before going to work with kicks. Medeiros found his way into the boxing range however, which resulted in both men landed solid shots at a good pace. Before long, however, Medeiros seemed to really have his range and was scoring with combinations, but returned the favor by dropping him twice with counters.
Despite the damage, Medeiros was almost completely undeterred and kept on the offensive. The Hawaiian did a nice job of feinting and targeting the body, which helped open up power shots towards Cerrone’s face.
In the final 10 seconds of the round, Medeiros was still trying to push into Cerrone’s face and exchange. He accomplished that goal but wound up on the wrong end of a big combination. As Cerrone backed up, he planted his feet and fire to the body. Medeiros kept moving forward until the two were in the phone booth distance, at which point Cerrone landed a crisp right hand to break the clinch.
It landed cleanly, sending Medeiros spinning to the mat. This time, there would be no quick recovery, as Cerrone followed up with heavy ground strikes to score a stoppage just before the bell.
This victory definitely answers many of the pre-fight questions regarding Cerrone. On one hand, his skills are all clearly there. He was kicking well, throwing hard counters, and looking to land his reactive takedown from the first bell. At the same time, he definitely look a bit more vulnerable during exchanges, which is likely the result of a long career catching up to him a bit.
The match up really broke down like this: Cerrone is a brutal offensive fighter with bad defense against a certain type of striker, whereas Medeiros is a powerful brawl with bad defense. Medeiros tried to make himself the pressure fighter who played with feints, and he definitely had some strong moments where Cerrone looked uncomfortable and stayed in exchanges for too long. However, you cannot walk through all of Cerrone’s strikes, as “Cowboy” still lands with venom.
Medeiros didn’t have the defensive to safely maneuver into range or to avoid the counters, and it cost him the bout.
Cerrone definitely need this victory. Though his days as a perennial top five contender are over, he’s still an excellent fighter worthy of his ranking. It would probably be best if he is not matched with any crafty knockout artists in the near future, but someone like Gunnar Nelson or Dong Hyun Kim would be interesting challenges for “Cowboy.”
As for Medeiros, his ability to switch stances mid-combination and pressure Cerrone was effective, but he wasn’t able to maintain his defense. Unfortunately, this loss definitely cuts his momentum and may even drop him from the top 15. The silver lining here is that this defeat does nothing to hurt Medeiros’ position as the most exciting action fighter at 170 lbs., as Medeiros has delivered nothing but firefights inside the Octagon.
Last night, Donald Cerrone returned to the win column with a buzzer-beater knockout. Who should “Cowboy” face next?
For complete UFC Fight Night 126: “Cerrone vs. Medeiros” results and play-by-play, click HERE!