UFC on FOX 11 Play: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (+115) vs Edson “Junior” Barboza (-125)

Donald CerroneUFC on FOX 11 Date: April 19, 2014 Arena: Amway Center City: Orlando, FL Lightweight bout: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (+115) vs Edson “Junior” Barboza (-125) Fight Breakdown: The UFC on FOX main card will be featuring a lightweight bout between arguably two of the best Muay Thai strikers in the division. Fireworks are surely to be expected when Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone takes on Edson “Junior” Barboza. The betting odds for this 155 pound contest have been at a near coin-flip, with Cerrone currently being the very slight underdog at +115 ($100 to win $115), and Barboza the slight favorite at -125 ($125 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (22-6-1 NC MMA, 7-2 UFC) is enjoying a two-fight winning streak as he gets ready to make his 10th appearance inside the Octagon. He is coming off a very impressive head-kick knockout of Adriano Martins at UFC on FOX 10 a couple of months ago. The win followed another very impressive performance which came two months prior to that, as “Cowboy” dismantled and submitted the always tough Evan Dunham. With his eyes on a title shot, Cerrone will be looking to make it three in a row against the best Muay Thai striker he has faced in Barboza. A Muay Thai specialist himself, Cerrone will take pleasure in standing and banding, being in search of both a finish and a bonus. He is an excellent striker with great footwork and head movement, not to mention quickness. The 31-year old mixes it up well on the feet, implementing all eight limbs into his offensive attack. He really loves to use his knees, and has an incredible kicking game. He works hard leg kicks, as well as solid head and body kicks. He is also very effective from inside the clinch. It is worth noting that Cerrone fights best when he is moving forward, being the aggressor. He is not as effective when moving backwards. “Cowboy” is incredibly talented on the mat, as well, having an excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game. He is a serious threat from both top and bottom positions. Cerrone loves to choke his opponents out; the triangle choke is his favorite submission to go for, so he definitely does not mind being on his back, as it gives him an opportunity to secure his favorite finish. The WEC veteran has a great chin and his cardio is top notch, especially considering he trains in high altitude at Jackson-Winklejohn MMA in Albuquerque, NM. He should be ready to go hard for three rounds against the Brazilian. Edson “Junior” Barboza (13-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) is currently riding a three fight winning streak, coming off a majority decision victory over Danny “Last Call” Castillo at UFC on FOX 9 four months ago. The lone blemish on his record came against former WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner, losing the fight via TKO in the very first round of action. The Brazilian has bounced back nicely and now looks to build his streak to four with a win over Cerrone, and I have no doubt he will enter the Octagon looking for the knockout. The 28 year old is a very talented Muay Thai striker who has developed excellent wrestling skills and a good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game. He has incredible takedown defense and prefers to strike, so we have yet to see him really implement any offensive submission attacks inside the Octagon, though he did display some decent submission defense in his last outing against Castillo, when the California native hurt him in the first round, then ended up taking his back on the mat and looking for the finish. Barboza also displayed great recovery in that bout. Many are still concerned about his chin, as he has now been badly hurt twice. I, on the other hand am not as concerned. I think chis chin is better than most fight fans are giving him credit for. The Brazilian has an incredible kicking game, and undoubtedly the hardest leg kicks in the lightweight division. He owns three knockouts via leg kicks, with two of them coming inside the Octagon. The 28 year old has beautiful spinning kicks, as well, like the highlight-reel spinning heel kick he knocked out Terry Etim with. He often likes to use his spinning back kick, and also has a nice spinning roundhouse kick. The Barboza mixes it up well on the feet, putting together some nice combinations. He has a good over-hand right, a solid left hook, and a nice uppercut-left hook combination he likes to use. He uses his lead jab really well, and is great at working his range. Training in New Jersey with the likes of former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and WSOF bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes, Barboza has great conditioning, is in top shape, and ready for the biggest fight of his career. Gabe’s Prediction: I think Barboza is going to connect, and connect hard. I am expecting a similar result to Cerrone vs Pettis, and I believe Barboza hits harder than Pettis. Cerrone has admitted that he has never seen Barboza fight, having not watched a single second of film on the Brazilian. I think that is a big mistake that “Cowboy” has made, because Barboza is, in my opinion, the most dangerous striker he has yet to face. To go into a fight against him without having a clue of what he is like just seems plain silly to me, and could very well cost him this fight. Another thing that makes me like Barboza more is how poor I thought Cerrone looked at the weigh-ins. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Cerrone does what he does best and finishes Barboza, but I think if this fight ends inside the distance, more often than not it will be the Brazilian on the winning end of it. If the bout makes its way all the way to the judges’ scorecards, I lean towards Barboza taking the nod, but am expecting him to score another highlight-reel knockout. Gabe’s Call: Barboza by KO (body kick, 1:28 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Edson Barboza (-125) 5u to win 4u

Written by Gabe Killian

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