Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight legends Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon will collide this weekend (Sat., June 18, 2022) at UFC Austin inside Texas’ Moody Center.
Let’s try this again, shall we?
Just last month, both Cerrone and Lauzon successfully weighed in, shook hands and went to sleep ready to compete at UFC 274. Then, illness struck, and Cerrone was forced to withdrawal from the contest. It was momentarily up in the air whether the two would be rebooked, but here we are little more than one month later. Fortunately, the quality match up remains, and the stakes are still high for this pair of aging mixed martial arts (MMA) icons. With that in mind, the rest of this article remains the same as when it was published one month ago, because nothing has really changed.
All the same, let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Record: 36-16 (2)
Key Wins: Eddie Alvarez (UFC 178), Benson Henderson (UFC Fight Night 59), Al Iaquinta (UFC Fight Night 151), Alexander Hernandez (UFC Fight Night 143), Yancy Medeiros (UFC Fight Night 126), Rick Story (UFC 202)
Key Losses: Conor McGregor (UFC 246), Tony Ferguson (UFC 238), Justin Gaethje (UFC Fight Night 158), Jorge Masvidal (UFC on FOX 23), Leon Edwards (UFC Fight Night 132), Rafael dos Anjos (UFC on FOX 17, UFC Fight Night 27)
Keys to Victory: Cerrone made his name by fighting anyone, anywhere, carving up generations of contenders with his combination of Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. All that activity has caught up to him physically, but his skills remain fairly sharp.
Whether this fight happened five years ago, last month, or this weekend, Cerrone’s advantages lie in the stand up and over time. Cerrone is the sharper kickboxer, particularly at distance. He’ll have to be wary of Lauzon’s early power, but those heavy hands can be navigated by maintaining kicking range as much as possible.
Early power is the other key term here. Between the two, Cerrone historically has the better gas tank, and that’s remained true in their late careers as well. If Cerrone can stretch this fight out into the later rounds, his kicks will wear down Lauzon a bit and take some of the pop off Lauzon’s swings.
If Cerrone can kick his opponent at a good rate and avoid anything devastating early, he stands a good chance at retiring on a win.
Key Wins: Jonathan Pierce (UFC on ESPN 6), Diego Sanchez (UFC 200), Michael Chiesa (UFC Fight Night 50), Jamie Varner (UFC on FOX 4), Melvin Guillard (UFC 136)
Key Losses: Jim Miller (UFC on FOX 21, UFC 155), Clay Guida (UFC Fight Night 120), Evan Dunham (The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale), Al Iaquinta (UFC 183)
Keys to Victory: Lauzon is a finisher. Like his opponent, Lauzon ranks highly on the list of most performance bonuses of all time, in large part because Lauzon doesn’t know how to hold back. He goes after his opponents, throwing big shots and taking risks to jump on submissions.
I think an early onslaught might be Lauzon’s best chance here. He’s proven that he still carries real power in his hands, and if able to gain a dominant position, he’s a deadly finisher. Even at his peak, Cerrone was never particularly difficult to hit. Nowadays, Cerrone doesn’t have the same durability that allowed him to thrive despite that flaw. He’s far more vulnerable, and Lauzon has an early window where he can really drop the hurt.
Cerrone is a famously slow starter, whereas Lauzon has always been on to explode out of the gate. Stylistically, it makes a whole lot of sense for Lauzon to try to end this one quickly, before Cerrone can find his rhythm and range.
The legacy of each man is already set in stone, so this fight doesn’t mean all that much.
Is there much more to say here? Lauzon is The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran who put on hugely entertaining fights for the better part of two decades. Cerrone, meanwhile, never managed to capture the title, but he challenged for it on a couple occasions. Equally as important, Cerrone built one hell of a resume by fighting as often as possible and picking up some elite wins in the process.
Regardless of Saturday night’s outcome, these two have accomplished more than enough to be remembered fondly.
At UFC Austin, Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon will battle in the co-main event. Which man will have a chance to walkaway with a win?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Austin fight card right here, starting with the ESPN2/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.
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