UFC 178 Play: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (-130) vs Eddie Alvarez (+120)

Eddie AlvarezUFC 178 Date: September 27, 2014 Arena: MGM Grand Garden Arena City: Las Vegas, NV Lightweight bout: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (-130) vs Eddie Alvarez (+120) Fight Breakdown: The co-main event for UFC 178 on Pay Per View will be a lightweight contest that will see the long awaited arrival of Eddie Alvarez, as he gets set to take on another fan favorite in UFC/WEC veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. “Cowboy” is a slight betting favorite heading into this 155-pound contest at -130 ($130 to win $100) with the now-former Bellator lightweight champion Alvarez being the underdog to win at +120 ($100 to win $120) at Several Bookmakerss. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (24-6-1 NC, 9-2 UFC) is coming off a second round knockout of Jim Miller at UFC Fight Night 45 in Miller’s native New Jersey just two months ago, the win which put him on an incredibly impressive four fight winning streak, with all four victories coming inside the distance. Two of them have been knockouts, coming against Adriano Martins and the aforementioned Miller. The other two were submissions against Evan Dunham and Edson Barboza. Heading into tonight’s co-main event bout against Alvarez, “Cowboy” will be looking to make a statement by taking out the much-hyped Alvarez and simultaneously going 5-0 inside the Octagon. However, he would not wait for the winner of Melendez vs Pettis in December, as he himself would very much prefer at least one more fight by year’s end, if not two. Cerrone is an excellent striker with great footwork and head movement, not to mention speed. His Muay Thai is incredible, he is very effective from inside the clinch, and from striking distance, he has some of the best kicks in the UFC’s lightweight division. “Cowboy” has a variety of kicks in his arsenal, and is dangerously effective with all of them. He does damage with his leg kicks, as well as his head and body kicks, as was evident in his last outing against Miller. The 31 year old works both the inside and outside leg kicks really well. He often prefers to end his combinations with a heavy outside leg kick. Sometimes he will throw a combination at half-strength, and then follow it up with a powerful leg kick in full-strength to end the combination with, which he has been quite effective with. The WEC veteran mixes it up well on the feet, implementing all limbs into his offensive attack. He has a nice uppercut and works a solid jab, which he used to drop Barboza in their bout, before following the Brazilian to the mat to secure the rear naked choke for the finish. As effective as “Cowboy” is with his shin, he is just as effective with his knees, which were also in full display in the Miller bout. Cerrone likes to time and catch opponents with his knee as they are either changing levels for a takedown or moving forward attempting a strike, and he has been very effective in doing so. “Cowboy” fights best when he is moving forward, being the aggressor, and is not as effective when moving backwards. His two Octagon losses which came against Nate Diaz and Rafael dos Anjos were both fights in which his opponents were the aggressors dictating control of the cage. The Denver native is incredibly talented on the mat, as well, having an excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game and owning a very impressive 15 of 24 professional mixed martial arts victories by way of submission. “Cowboy” is a serious threat from both top and bottom positions. He 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 31 year old has works solid takedowns, including a nice single-leg and a great body-lock takedown. He is a tough and durable fighter who possesses a good chin and better recovery. His cardio is up there, as well, especially considering he trains in high altitude at Jackson-Winklejohn MMA in Albuquerque, NM. Furthermore, I think he will be ready for three full rounds of action against Alvarez, should this lightweight scrap go the distance. Eddie Alvarez (25-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has finally been released from Bellator and is set to make his long, long awaited UFC debut, having been ranked as one of the best 155-pounders in the world in for years. The 30 year old now rides a three fight winning streak, which includes a split decision victory over another top ranked lightweight in Michael Chandler, in a fight where he won back his Bellator lightweight title. Giving up the title, he is ready to enter the Octagon for the first time in his professional mixed martial arts career, in an effort to extend his winning streak to four in a row and put him in UFC 155-pound title contention. Aside from Chandler, Alvarez holds career victories over the likes of Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Aaron Riley, Josh Neer, Katsunori Kikuno, Pat Curran, Roger Huerta and Patricky Freiry, respectively. The Bellator veteran is a very talented striker with excellent boxing skills who has been honing his kickboxing under the tutelage of head striking coach Henri Hooft at the Blackzilian’s camp in Boca Raton, FK. He moves very quick on the feet, has great footwork, excellent head movement, fast hands and puts together some effective combinations that are a pleasure to look at. He likes to dictate cage control and is very aggressive on the feet, pressuring his opponents and dishing out strikes in heavy volume. Alvarez does a great job of working the body, and sometimes likes to start off by punishing the body before going for head-shots. He has a nice uppercut and works a variety of fine hooks, including a nice leaping left hook and a beautiful right hook to the body. He has a solid jab and often likes to double up on it. He has a strong lead right hand, and is quite effective with his right hand, in general, doing a great job of throwing the straight right, as well as the overhand. Alvarez has a sound kicking game, as well, though he does not dish out many kicks, as he prefers to throw his hands. However, when he does, he is quite effective with them, especially with his outside leg kick and high kick. He also effective with his knees, which he likes to implement in his offensive striking attack. Much like Cerrone, the Philadelphia native fights his best when moving forward. That said, he does a good job of working counters, as well, but he is prone to getting tagged on the feet, as he has been rocked and dropped in many of his bouts. That said, he has some of the best recovery in all of mixed martial arts, as he generally comes back from getting dropped to win his fights in impressive fashion. While he has been dropped numerous times, he has only suffered one defeat via T/KO in his 28 fight career, and that came over seven years ago against UFC and Bellator veteran Nick Thompson. Alvarez is a very tough fighter who always leaves it all in the cage, and he is very durable, being capable of taking a tremendous amount of punishment, only to come back and get his hand raised. The now-former Bellator lightweight champion is an incredibly well-conditioned athlete who I have no doubt is prepared to go hard for a full 15 minutes of action against Cerrone, should the fight see it’s way all the way to the judges’ scorecards. He is ready to make his promotional debut against one of the toughest lightweights in the world, and even more ready to make waves in the UFC’s 155-pound division, ultimately setting himself for a potential title shot against the winner of Melendez vs Pettis in December. Gabe’s Thoughts: I think Alvarez is the tougher fighter of the two. Cerrone likes to come across as really tough, and no one can say he’s not, but mentally speaking, I have no doubt Alvarez is the mentally superior man and fighter. While Cerrone has folded numerous times in big fights throughout his career, Alvarez has not. It is known that Cerrone is the type of fighter with whom it is always a possibility that he may not mentally show up for a fight, whereas Alvarez is known to be a fighter who always brings it and win or lose, leaves it all in the cage. Cerrone is both a very talented striker and submission artist, so I would never be surprised to see him finish anybody in the world at 155-pounds. That said, I think should this fight end inside the distance, I think more often than not, it will be Alvarez scoring the finish. Should it go the distance, I again favor Alvarez to take the nod. I think he will be able to do enough to win at least two out of three rounds on the judges’ scorecards, but should the fight go the distance, I feel he will have earned all three for a unanimous 30-27 decision victory in an impressive promotional debut. It is also worth noting that Alvarez has studied Cerrone’s game, broken it down and trained for him to the best of his and his coaches’ abilities. Cerrone, on the other hand, has never seen a single footage of film from an Alvarez fight, so I believe the Bellator veteran is in general the more prepared fighter of the two. Sure, Cerrone wants to wins this fight and it would be a big deal for him, but I believe it would mean a lot more for Alvarez, and that he wants it far more than Cerrone does. I expect his performance tonight to reflect that. In conclusion, at the current slight underdog betting odds of +120, I am taking the fully prepared fighter who always leaves it all in the cage against the not so prepared fighter who sometimes does not mentally show up for his fights. Gabe’s Call: Alvarez by T/KO (body-shots/punches, 1:08 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Eddie Alvarez (+120) 5u to win 6u

Written by Gabe Killian

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