UFC 187 Play: John Makdessi (+400) vs Donald Cerrone (-500)

Donald CerroneUFC 187 Date: May 23, 2015 Arena: MGM Grand Garden Arena City: Las Vegas, NV Lightweight bout: John Makdessi (+400) vs Donald Cerrone (-500) Fight Breakdown: Saturday’s UFC 187 main card on Pay-Per-View will be featuring a heavyweight tilt between Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski and Travis “Hapa” Browne, with Arlovski being a +360 ($100 to win $360) underdog and Browne being a -450 ($450 to win $100) betting favorite at Several Bookmakerss. John Makdessi (13-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) last saw action just about a month ago at UFC 186, where he took out promotional newcomer Chane Campbell by TKO in the first round of action, he now looks to make it two in a row by taking on Cerrone in this short notice bout, for which he is serving as a late injury replacement for Khabib Nurmagomedov. He could make some real noise in the UFC’s lightweight division if he is able to get past Cerrone on Saturday night. “The Bull” is a talented striker who likes to finish fights, as nine of his 13 professional mixed martial arts career victories have come by way of T/KO. He does not like to lose and is the type of fighter who will go for the kill in the third the final round, if he knows he has lost the first two. He does not just sit back and welcome the defeat. He is a fighter who has heart and does not give up. Makdessi comes from a Taekwondo, Karate and Kickboxing background and has evolved into a solid MMA striker. He works nice spinning attacks, including a great spinning back-kick and an excellent spinnig back-fist, which he used to knock out Tom Watson at UFC 129. The Nova Scotia native attempts a lot of tecniques off his front leg, largely in part due to his aforementioned background in Taekwondo. He works some solid kicks, including an effective front-kick and great body-kicks, especially his front-leg side-kick to the body. The recently-turned 30-year old has a great chin, solid striking defense and very good awareness on the feet. He generally has good movement, though at times he can become a bit stationary. His straight-left is solid, as is his straight-right. Makdessi uses an effective jab, and really likes to step in with it, giving it more ‘pow’ than ‘pop’. The Lebanese-Canadian’s ground-game is rudimentary, though he has drastically improved his defensive grappling skills over the years. He is not easy to take down, and when taken down, he is very hard to keep down.Perhaps he has been improving it in the gym, we just haven’t seen it in his recent fights. That may likely be due to the fact that he’s also been improving his takedown defense. Training out of TriStar MMA in Montreal, Makdessi generally has good cardio, though it will be a question mark headed into this contest, as it is on such short notice. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (27-6-1 MMA, 12-2 UFC) is coming off a controversial split decision win over Benson Henderson at UF C Fight Night 59 four months ago and now rides an impressive seven fight win streak in the UFC’s lightweight division. A win over Makdessi this Saturday night will put him at eight in a row and will solidify his status at the number one contender to Rafael dos Anjos’ UFC Lightweight title. “Cowboy” is an excellent striker with great footwork and head movement, not to mention speed. His Muay Thai is excellent; he is very effective from inside the clinch and from striking distance, and he possesses some of the best kicks in the UFC’s lightweight division. Cerrone 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. The Denver, CO native 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 recently-turned 32-year old native 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. He 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. The WEC veteran 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. Cerrone is incredibly talented on the mat, as well, having an excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game and owning a very impressive 15 of 25 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 Denver, CO native 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. He will no doubt be ready for three hard and heavy rounds of action this Saturday night, should they be necessary. Gabe’s Call: “Cowboy” by Submission (rear naked choke, 3:02 round 2) Gabe’s Thoughts: I think this fight either plays out two ways; either Cerrone bests Makdessi for three rounds, a la Cerrone vs Jeremy Stephens and Makdessi vs Anthony Njokuani, or he finishes him. I am favoring the finish, and because of Cerrone’s massive edge in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in this bout, I like it to be a submission. I think that will the outcome to this contest soon after the fight hits the mat, whether Cerrone goes for the takedown or drops Makdessi with strikes to follow up with the sub. For a wild prediction, I’ll say he drops him with a kick (head-kick, probably) and immediately takes his back to sink up the choke. Gabe’s Recommended Parlays: Cerrone (-500), Browne (-450) and Dodson (-450) at -127 for 3.85u to win 3.05u and Cerrone/Makdessi Under 2.5 round (+115) and Arlovski/Browne Over 1.5 rounds (+110) at +351 for 1.75u to win 6.15u

Written by Gabe Killian

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