UFC 160: May 25, 2013 MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada UFC Lightweight Contender Donald Cerrone (-275) Profile: Donald Cerrone (20-5) is a longtime WEC vet who has come close to earning gold around his waist on multiple occasions only to fall short. In the WEC, “Cowboy” was 0-3 in shots for the lightweight title, but he always defeated everyone else around him. When the UFC absorbed the WEC, Cerrone went right back to work in an extremely active 2011, fighting in the organization five times and going 4-1 with impressive wins over Paul Kelly, Vagner Rocha, Charles Oliveira and Dennis Siver. His six-fight winning streak was snapped when he met Nate Diaz in the Octagon at UFC 141, losing a unanimous decision in a bout that won Fight of the Night, and he has since won two of his past three to improve to 6-2 inside the Octagon. Deadly on the feet and with an impressive ground game in a relatively short period of time, this Greg Jackson-trained 30-year-old can win anywhere in the cage. UFC Lightweight Contender K.J. Noons (+195) Profile: Despite dropping four of his last five fights, K.J. Noons (11-6) is a transplant from Strikeforce that should make a great addition to the UFC’s lightweight roster. Before Josh Thomson stopped Nate Diaz at UFC on FOX 7, Noons was the first man in more than a decade of fights to finish a Diaz brother, defeating Nick via cut for the Elite XC Lightweight Championship. The 30-year-old native of Hawaii has been a student of the striking arts since he was a a toddler, and he holds regional kickboxing titles to go along with a pro boxing record of 11-2. In short, Noons is seriously fun to watch when he’s on his feet, but when he’s taken down, he does struggle. He is coming off an extremely controversial split-decision loss to Ryan Couture that followed a unanimous decision loss to Thomson in a Strikeforce title eliminator bout. In fact, his three previous losses before Couture were either title eliminators or for the Strikeforce title.
Opening UFC 160 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Cerrone a solid -275 favorite (bet $275 to win $100) while Noons opened as a +195 underdog (bet $100 to win $195) at Several Bookmakers sportsbook. Both of these fighters built their roots in now-defunct organizations and faced top competition there. The big difference obviously is that Cerrone also already has eight UFC fights under his belt compared to none for Noons. The underdog is an underdog with good reason, but that does not mean Noons is not capable of pulling off the upset here. In each of his past two fights, Cerrone has shown that he is susceptible to getting knocked out, although he was able to turn the tables on Melvin Guillard with a KO of his own to end that bout. Noons is an excellent stand-up fighter who certainly has the potential to beat Cerrone if he can stay off the ground. However, one would think that Cerrone has also learned his lesson and will look to take Noons to the ground, where he can utilize his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills and possibly submit him. Noons has only been submitted once in his career though, as all four of his recent losses have gone to the judges. Motivation could also be an issue for Cerrone since he is used to facing higher-caliber opponents. Noons can be dangerous as long as he is standing. If not, Cerrone should be able to handle him and work toward winning a decision.