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Here’s everything that happened at UFC on ESPN+ 9 ‘Cerrone vs. Iaquinta’ last night in Ottawa

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its presence known to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, last night (Sat., May 4, 2019) for UFC on ESPN+ 9. Without mincing words too much, Ottawa was not treated to the best the UFC roster had to offer. Luckily, the main event did feature an excellent match up of top Lightweights Donald Cerrone vs. Al Iaquinta, but the rest of the card left something to be desired.

All the same, let’s take a look at the best techniques and performances of the night.

Cowboy Rides Again

Donald Cerrone may have won his last two fights ahead of last night’s main event, but the bout with Iaquinta was different.

“Raging Al” is not Mike Perry nor Alexander Hernandez; he’s no prospect hoping to climb the ranks. No, Iaquinta is already a bonafide veteran, a top-five ranked Lightweight looking to earn a title shot right now. For the first time since his loss to Leon Edwards, Cerrone was stepping back into the elite talent pool, where his recent results have not been great.

Back at 155 lbs., it all seemed to come together for Cerrone last night. Iaquinta was well-prepared and dangerous, looking to slam home his right hand at every opportunity, but Cerrone’s boxing looked better than ever. Rarely have we seen Cerrone land so many hard, punishing jabs, roll under punches, or avoid being put on the fence so well.

With those boxing improvements keeping his chin (mostly) safe, Cerrone was able to extend the fight into the later rounds. The first 10 minutes were extremely close: both men hurt each other, landed power shots, and generally performed excellently. In the final three rounds, however, Cerrone’s low and body kicks took their toll. As Iaquinta slowed down just a bit, the effect of Cerrone’s kicks only began to grow, and by the end of the fight, Iaquinta was completely overwhelmed by all the offense thrown his way, forced to focus solely on surviving when a last-second knockout was his only hope.

With this win, Cerrone is back in the Lightweight top five and likely ready for a title eliminator next.

Slips N Rips

Shane Burgos and Cub Swanson threw down last night, and while it wasn’t the absolute madness showcased in some of Swanson’s past bouts, both men displayed some great kickboxing.

Tall and powerful, Burgos has a remarkable frame for Featherweight. Against a tricky kickboxer, Burgos made sure to establish his distance strikes early, namely the jab and inside low kick, before looking for power blows. Both habits paid off, as Burgos began to get a read on Swanson’s bursts thanks to the jab, allowing him to slip his head off the side and rip the body or time Swanson with an uppercut.

One of the more interesting techniques on display was Burgos’ head movement to inside low kick. Generally, the man moving his head is at risk of being kicked, but Burgos was able to smoothly mix forward movement, rolls, and that aforementioned low kick. As a result of this fairly rare combination, Burgos’ inside kick landed frequently, doing a lot of damage across the three rounds.

Despite winding up on the wrong side of the scorecard, Swanson performed well here. His ability to mix together power punches in unexpected ways is still there, as Swanson flung himself into right hands and follow up hooks to find holes in Burgos’ guard. It wasn’t enough to overcome Burgos’ more traditional boxing, but Swanson is far from done himself.

Big Ticket Turns A Corner

Walt Harris has possessed the tools needed to succeed for years now.

Unfortunately for the former collegiate basketball player, consistency has been an issue. Despite his obvious athleticism — he throws remarkably fast punches for a Heavyweight who weighs nearly 260 lbs. — Harris will occasionally do very little or make bad decisions in the cage.

Against Spivak, there were no problems. Harris stalked his foe to the fence and realized quickly that the Ukranian was unwilling to throw much, which may have been a result of the infamous Octagon jitters. Either way, Harris gave him no time to find his footing, immediately releasing brutally powerful combinations that sent his opponent to the mat in about a minute.

Were it not for a tainted supplement, Harris would currently be riding a three-fight win streak. At 35 years of age, perhaps now Harris is ready to make the most of his skill and challenge the top 10.

Additional Thoughts

  • Macy Chiasson defeats Sarah Moras via second-round TKO: In terms of physicality, Chiasson is simply a level ahead of much of the Bantamweight division. Moras managed to surprise her with an early takedown and control, but Chiasson turned the table with a minute left in round. Once in top position, Chiasson abused her opponent, throwing constant strikes and really committing her weight to the punches. In the second round, Chiasson advanced into mount, where Moras simply could not escape the hammers thrown her way.
  • Nordine Taleb defeats Kyle Prepolec via unanimous decision: When Taleb is on his game, the Canadian’s kicking game is a blast to watch. Early on, Taleb found a home for his right low kick to the inside of his Southpaw foe’s thigh, smacking his leg out of stance as Prepolec attempted to pressure. From that point forward, Taleb controlled range masterfully, feinting the kick to change directions or land counter punches. One setup Taleb used particularly well was to lift his right leg up — showing that inside low kick that was so damaging — before planting it back down and instead firing a lead leg snap kick. Great work from the Canadian!
  • Matt Sayles defeats Kyle Nelson via third-round arm triangle choke: This was a rather strange fight, but Sayles showed his talent nonetheless. Sayles started strong early, setting up his right hand behind feints and the jab to badly hurt Nelson, but the larger man did survive. In the second, Nelson’s size and grappling advantage saw him take the back mount and come incredibly close to a rear naked choke finish, but Sayles managed to tough it out. The choke attempt seemed to empty Nelson’s gas tank completely though, as he took a terrible shot in the third that landed him directly into a head-and-arm choke.

For complete UFC on ESPN+ 9 results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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