clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC Fight Night 132 preview, quick picks for ‘Cerrone vs Edwards’

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back on UFC Fight Pass tomorrow morning (Sat., June 23, 2018) with the UFC Fight Night 132 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which features a welterweight main event between Donald Cerrone and Leon Edwards, who battle for a spot in the 170-pound title chase. In the UFC Fight Night 132 co-main event, held inside Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore, light heavyweight contender Ovince Saint Preux collides with Australian up-and-comer Tyson Pedro in a 205-pound clash of styles.

Elsewhere on the four-fight main card, former strawweight Jessica Eye looks to win her second straight for the first time in over five years when she battles streaking flyweight bruiser Jessica-Rose Clark. In addition, Japanese upstart Daichi Abe tries to slug his way back into the win column at the expense of welterweight veteran Jingliang Li, who’s won four of his last five. A solid line up for those folks who subscribe to the promotion's digital streaming line up.

To see what’s happening on the UFC Fight Night 132 preliminary card, which also airs on UFC Fight Pass (and kicks off at 4:30 a.m. ET), check out Patrick Stumberg’s preview and predictions here and here. Odds and betting lines for all the combatants throwing down in Singapore can be located here. Now, with that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the UFC Fight Night 132 main card line up, starting bright and early at 8 a.m. ET.

170 lbs.: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (33-10, 1 NC) vs. Leon “Rocky” Edwards (15-3)

There has been some concern over the last year or so about the durability of Donald Cerrone, and rightly so, after a dreadful 2017 fight campaign that saw his 2017 record end at 0-3 with two finishes. In the old days, the only fighter who could beat “Cowboy” was himself, evidence by lame duck performances against Nate Diaz, among others, promoting a visit to the shrink.

They say time heals all wounds; well, it also deteriorates all warriors. Cerrone turned 35 back in March and will enter his 45th professional fight on Saturday against a younger, faster southpaw who’s never been finished. What chance you give Cerrone this weekend in Singapore may depend on how much stock you put in is rebound win over Yancy Medeiros last February. After all, the unranked “Kid” is a venerable brawler ... and not much else.

That’s not to suggest that Edwards has been laying waste to the cream of the crop, but we shouldn’t punish him for something that’s out of his control. At the same time, we can’t overlook his five-fight winning streak, which includes his blistering technical knockout win over Peter Sobotta last March. He’s pretty solid everywhere the fight goes and has a sneaky straight left with decent pop. I think the worst we can say about “Rocky” is that he was outwrestled by Kamaru Usman at UFC on FOX 17, but “The Nigerian Nightmare” has done that to just about everyone, including Demian Maia.

Cerrone proved he can hang at welterweight by smacking around the likes of fading veterans Matt Brown and Patrick Cote, just to name a few, though I would argue there is a difference between hanging and belonging. “Cowboy” was at his best at 155 pounds and with a focused fight camp was among the top fighters in the world. I get the sense his move to welterweight was an admission he was either too lazy (or too shopworn) to keep making the cut and just wants to show up, put on a show, and collect his “Fight Night” bonuses. That approach works against middling wrestlers like Rick Story, but I’m not sure it gets the job done against the next generation of hungry combatants.

Prediction: Edwards def. Cerrone by technical knockout

205 lbs.: Tyson Pedro (7-1) vs. Ovince “OSP” Saint Preux (22-11)

Ovince Saint Preux is ranked No. 7 at 205 pounds, which feels overly generous when you look at his body of work. His two biggest accomplishments in UFC are dry cleaning Mauricio Rua and taking Jon Jones the distance. You can argue that “Shogun” has long since been shooting blanks while “Bones” was coming off an extended layoff. That doesn’t make “OSP” a bum, but he’s 0-3 against Volkan Oezdemir, Glover Teixeira, and Ilir Latifi, who are all ranked in the top five. He also went down in flames to No. 6 ranked Jimi Manuwa, so I think you understand my point.

Saint Preux is good, but not great.

Whether or not his “good” is good enough to overcome Tyson Pedro remains to be seen. Not a whole lot is known about the power-punching Aussie outside of the fact that he also lost to “The Sledgehammer” when they went to war last fall. It was the only time in his professional career the bearded bruiser traveled to a decision. Pedro was able to rebound with a victory over Russian import Saparbek Safarov earlier this year, thanks to a slick submission in the opening round of their UFC 221 affair. What I can say is he’s adept at finishing his fights, evidenced by five submissions and two knockouts.

I’m not sure we’ll see the scorecards here, either.

This looks to be a pretty even fight on paper. Height and reach are practically the same, but Saint Preux is now 35 as opposed to 26 for Pedro, though he makes up for that in experience. The latter has never faced anyone the caliber of “Bones” or Teixeira so he must instead hope that “OSP” has begun to deteriorate from both age and mileage. In short, Saint Preux is going to be fighting a younger version of himself and I have to assume that he knows what mistakes he made at that age and how to capitalize on them. If not, it’s going to be a long flight home from Singapore.

Prediction: Saint Preux def. Pedro by submission

125 lbs.: Jessica-Rose “Jessy Jess” Clark (9-4, 1 NC) vs. Jessica “Evil” Eye (12-6, 1 NC)

This is a weird fight to break down because both Jessica-Rose Clark and Jessica Eye have gone to so many damn decisions. “Jessy Jess” has been to the scorecards eight straight fights while “Evil” went in front of the judges in her last five bouts. Combined, they had five split decisions during that span. To be honest, I’ve been pretty underwhelmed by both fighters and I’m not expecting that to change tomorrow in Singapore, either.

Clark is coming off her recent victory over Paige VanZant. I’m not sure how much stock we put into that performance because A) VanZant fought with a broken arm and B) “12 Gauge” is merely an average fighter (4-3 in UFC). As for Eye, she handled Brazilian import Kalindra Faria on the same card and walked away victorious; but again, I’m not breaking out the party hats for a win over a fighter who was choked out in her UFC debut.

When you consider that both Clark and Eye are primarily strikers and will look to box their way across most of the three rounds, the “Evil” height and reach advantage become more significant. I also won’t discount the level of competition Eye has been fighting over the past five years, which includes three former title contenders, two former champions, and one TUF season winner. This is her fight to lose and if she can work in some wrestling like she did against Faria, this is likely to be her night.

Prediction: Eye def. Clark by unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Daichi Abe (6-1) vs. Jingliang “The Leech” Li (14-5)

All eyes are on Daichi Abe this weekend in Singapore as the Japanese import was handed his first professional loss at UFC 221 back in February and needs to demonstrate he’s plugged a couple of glaring holes.. Unable to seal the deal with his powerful left hook, Abe suffered mightily from a lack of conditioning, huffing and puffing his way to the scorecards against Luke Jumeau. Why the judo black belt isn’t air-mailing opponents across the cage is a mystery, but I think losing will make him reevaluate his fight I.Q., as well as his cardiovascular training.

He won’t be able to get away with anything less against Jingliang Li, a venerable Chinese slugger with serious power and aggressive output. His loss to Jake Matthews left a sour taste in my mouth thanks to some ugly eye pokes, but that doesn’t overshadow his skills as a cage fighter. While he’s less effective in terms of accuracy, Li will match Abe in volume and can win this fight by outworking his less-experienced foe. My problem with “The Leech” is how many times he’s been dropped in recent fights and despite an otherworldly ability to recover and keep on truckin’, I have trouble picking him against a younger, speedier fighter with something to prove. Li’s rock ‘em, sock ‘em bumrush puts him on his back somewhere in the opening frame.

Prediction: Abe def. Li by knockout

There you have it. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 132 fight card on Saturday morning (click here), starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 4:30 a.m. ET, followed by the main card start time of 8 a.m. ET, also on Fight Pass.

For much more on UFC Singapore click here.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania