UFC Fight Night 132 takes place Saturday at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore, and the entire event streams on UFC Fight Pass.
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Donald Cerrone (33-10 MMA, 20-7 UFC)
- Height: 6’1″ Age: 35 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 73″
- Last fight: TKO win over Yancy Medeiros (Feb. 18, 2018)
- Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
- Stance/striking style: Orthodox/muay Thai
- Risk management: Fair
+ Multiple muay Thai titles
^ 28-0 as a pro kickboxer
+ 9 KO victories
+ 16 submission wins
+ 14 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Intelligent strike setups
^ Feints, reads, reacts
+ Devastating head kicks
+ Accurate and intercepting knees
+ Hard leg kicks
^ Most landed in UFC history
+ Underrated wrestling ability
+ Excellent transitional grappler
+/- 4-8 against UFC southpaws
Leon Edwards (15-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC)
- Height: 6’0″ Age: 26 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 74″
- Last fight: TKO win over Peter Sobotta (March 17, 2018)
- Camp: BTC Birmingham (England)
- Stance/striking style: Southpaw/kickboxing
- Risk management: Good
+ BAMMA welterweight title
+ Various amateur MMA accolades
+ 6 KO victories
+ 3 submission wins
+ 5 first-round finishes
+ KO power
^ Fast hand speed
+ Good feints and footwork
+ Accurate shot selection
^ Coming forward and off the counter
+ Dangerous body and head kicks
+ Strong inside the clinch
^ Slick trips and takedowns
+ Underrated wrestling ability
+ Good tranistional grappler
The main event in Singapore features a potential welterweight war barnburner with Donald Cerrone vs. Leon Edwards.
A UFC staple who needs no introduction, Cerrone has done everything underneath the sun, seeing as much, if not more, as his impressive resume suggests. Cerrone recently reminded the masses that he still carries live rounds in the chamber, something that will provide the promotional gunslinger with momentum as he hits the road once again.
Looking to make a name off the traveling veteran is Edwards, who happens to be one the more well-rounded talents that England has produced. Quietly riding a five-fight UFC winning streak, Edwards will attempt to make his presence known with a statement win over his most notable opponent to date.
Starting off on the feet, we should be privy to a pairing of two crafty kickboxers who share similar spirits from opposite stances.
Cerrone – the orthodox-stance fighter – embraces his kickboxing base, using leg kicks and teeps from a distance. Mixing in his punches appropriately to both the head and body, Cerrone will draw out his opponent’s defenses to set up the fight-ending head kicks that comprise his highlight reel.
In recent years, the 12-year pro has proven to provide much more than kicks and knees while showing strides when connecting his punches inside the pocket or in combination.
Under the care of Brandon Gibson, the current iteration of Cerrone has him moving his head and torso offline and at angles, unloading his punches with different mechanics than before. Often punching his way out of exchanges with his left hook, Cerrone will feed his newfound flow into his patented head kicks, displaying an arsenal that’s much more symbiotic than before.
That said, offense is a two-way street, one that Cerrone has been caught speeding down many times before. For that reason, Cerrone will need to be careful not to get caught cruising or clunkily climbing his gears.
A slick, diverse southpaw who can counter or come forward with effect, Edwards offers a real threat to anyone who pushes into his space uninvited. The 26-year-old’s pairing of speed and accuracy also help him cover a lot of ground in regards to gaining respect down the stretch.
Working behind a deceptive jab that he often uses to check his opponents, the Englishman will keep powerful left crosses and kicks at the ready, occasionally sprinkling in explosive knees to intercept oncoming level changes. Regardless of Edwards’ approach on the feet, I suspect that wrestling and clinch warfare may be an important factor in this fight.
Both men carry an underrated ability to wrestle that they each use tactically in different ways.
Edwards, who was initially identified as a striker when first stepping onto the UFC scene, put a sizeable emphasis on his wrestling after losing a close split-decision in his UFC debut. Since then, we have seen the Englishman use suffocating clinches and well-timed trips and takedowns to surprise opponents as well as win rounds.
Whereas Cerrone, who also wields well-timed takedowns of his own, will typically go to them to deter oncoming pressure or in a seed-planting fashion to get into his opponent’s head. Should Cerrone get his foe to the ground, expect the skilled transitional grappler to create and advance through scrambles like they’re second nature.
The Jackson-Wink staple is a solid guard passer who parlays his pathways into quick back-takes when available. And if he misses in transition, Cerrone is consistent with punishing opponents as they try to make it back to their feet.
Thankfully for Edwards, he has shown to be no slouch when having to work from negative positions on the mat.
The seven-year pro knows how to read a scramble in the heat of battle, as well as appropriately fight hands and use the fence to stand. Edwards also has a knack for guard retentions, which could be the lesser of two evils when facing a savvy back-taker like Cerrone. But if Edwards is the one who ends up on top, then it could be a different fight altogether.
Edwards, who also likes looking for the back, is more of an attritive positional rider as opposed to an opportunistic one like his counterpart. The English fighter’s seemingly impenetrable composure has helped keep him safe in troublesome spots thus far in his career, but he will still need to stay fundamentally sound against a submission stylist like Cerrone, not allowing for his hands to touch the mat (something that cost him brief limb isolations in his recent outing against Peter Sobotta).
Cerrone, who typically prefers launching into his patent triangle chokes immediately upon touching down onto the mat, can work wonders should you grant him the leverage of an overhook to ply his leg dexterity. However, if Edwards shows the positional prowess to shut down Cerrone’s attempts early, then we could see the Englishman earn some valuable clock time on top.
The oddsmakers and public seem to be favoring youth over experience, listing Edwards -200 and Cerrone +170 as of this writing.
Despite my official pick, I am somewhat surprised to see the line trending away from fan favorite Cerrone so early. Even with recent stoppage losses, you can still make an argument that Cerrone is more durable at welterweight than he was at lightweight. More importantly, if Cerrone can work through some hard shots and counters in the early going, then he has the consistent output and experience that can help him pull away in the later rounds (especially if he gets going with his leg kicks).
The problem, however, is that I believe Edwards’ southpaw stance and stylings may throw off some of Cerrone’s looks, and – more importantly – there may be a speed discrepancy that the former lightweight is not used to seeing at 170 pounds. Edwards may not offer the same traditional pressure-fighting that we’ve seen trouble Cerrone in the past, but his accurate counter-cross and liver kick have real potential in this matchup. Although trying to wrestle Cerrone seems like a safer route, I suspect that the stylings of “Cowboy” will bring about the dog in Edwards – who I predict will earn a second-round stoppage stemming from an assault to the body.
Official pick: Edwards inside the distance
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: UFC Fight Night 132 main-event breakdown: Leon Edwards' path to breakout win over Donald Cerrone