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UFC Fight Night 151 card: Donald Cerrone vs Al Iaquinta full fight preview

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight veterans Donald Cerrone and Al Iaquinta will clash TONIGHT (May 4, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 151 from Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

A dreadful run in 2017 saw Cerrone loss three straight fights, surely a bad trend when “Cowboy” had never previously lost consecutive fights. Thoroughly undeterred, Cerrone returned to the win column before losing his next fight, which again threw some uncertainty on his career. Rather than worry, Cerrone looked more motivated than ever to score a pair of finish victories and return to his home weight class of 155 lbs.

Meanwhile, Iaquinta saw perhaps the most dramatic jump in competition in UFC history when a knockout win over Diego Sanchez unexpectedly earned him a last-minute title opportunity vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov. Iaquinta acquitted himself well in that loss, earning another big fight in the process, and “Raging Al” left no doubts about his status as a top Lightweight by decisively beating Kevin Lee next time out.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

Donald Cerrone

Record: 35-11 (1)

Key Wins: Eddie Alvarez (UFC 178), Benson Henderson (UFC Fight Night 59), Alexander Hernandez (UFC Fight Night 143), Yancy Medeiros (UFC Fight Night 126), Rick Story (UFC 202)

Key Losses: Jorge Masvidal (UFC on FOX 23), Darren Till (UFC Fight Night 118), Leon Edwards (UFC Fight Night 132), Robbie Lawler (UFC 214), Rafael dos Anjos (UFC on FOX 17, UFC Fight Night 27)

Keys to Victory: Throughout his lengthy UFC career, Cerrone’s approach and style has largely remained the same. “Cowboy” is a nasty kickboxer who punishes the legs and body of his opponent with whip-like kicks, and his secondary skills of a slick guard game and running double leg are both underrated as well.

This is a fight where both men have clear goals. Cerrone wants to keep this fight as a kickboxing match, whereas Iaquinta will be looking to close his way into the pocket and box. For that reason, the above intercepting blows will be extremely useful and important for “Cowboy.”

Cerrone should be looking to avoid the early firefight. In fact, he should be looking to drag this fight into the later rounds. Not only does the Muay Thai striker have more experience and an incredibly deep gas tank, but his style is known to break opponents down over time. Cerrone doesn’t have to win each and every early exchange, but if he’s targeting the legs and mid-section while Iaquinta head hunts, everything will grow easier as the fight wears on.

Al Iaquinta

Record: 14-4-1

Key Wins: Kevin Lee (UFC on FOX 31, UFC 169), Jorge Masvidal (UFC Fight Night 63), Ross Pearson (UFC Fight Night 55), Joe Lauzon (UFC 183)

Key Losses: Khabib Nurmagomedov (UFC 223), Michael Chiesa (TUF 15 Finale), Mitch Clarke (UFC 173)

Keys to Victory: Iaquinta is an aggressive boxer, a bully who looks to close distance into the pocket and smack his opponent upside the head with his right hand. He is not without tact, however, as Iaquinta uses smart feints and an educated lead hand to set up those power shots.

AL IAQUINTA FOF VIDEO

Difficult though it may be, there is no real secret on how to defeat Donald Cerrone. Even with all his tools to negate pressure, Cerrone still does not fare well from his back foot, particularly if the attacking man is a confident boxer. Iaquinta fits that bill well, and he has the tools necessary to make “Cowboy” look ordinary.

It really all comes down to how smartly Iaquinta is able to pressure. If he walks forward and tries to fling his right hand, Cerrone is going to slam teep kicks and knees into his belly until Iaquinta doesn’t want to advance anymore. On the other hand, should Iaquinta remain consistent with his feints, double up on the lead hand, counter kicks, and fake the single leg shot? That’s a recipe for success.

Bottom Line: This is a great contest between men who would like to be Lightweight title contenders.

Let’s be honest, the top of the division is still completely jammed. Khabib Nurmagomedov will face Dustin Poirier next — that much we know, and it is considerable progress. Meanwhile, Tony Ferguson still absolutely deserves a title shot, Conor McGregor may get one because of his drawing power, and Justin Gaethje is reemerging as a prominent title threat.

Realistically, the winner of this bout is fighting for a shot at Gaethje. Lightweight could always grow foggier, but the victor of this fight would be deserving of an action fight — one that might be a title eliminator as well — with the knockout artist. Iaquinta and Cerrone may feel their recent body of work should put them higher up on the list, but that’s the unfortunate reality of the 155 lbs. division.

At UFC Fight Night 151, Donald Cerrone and Al Iaquinta will square off in the main event. Which man will have his hand raised?