On a rare Tuesday night the UFC will put on an event. This May 15th they will hold UFC on Fuel TV 3: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier. The main event has all the indications of winning the fight of the night award. That is until you read the rest of the card & see a potential matchup for the ages.
On the main card two UFC bonus machines will face off in a lightweight bout. Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone will take on Jeremy ‘Lil Heathen’ Stephens. The two of them have racked up 13 bonuses in the UFC & WEC, with 8 of the 13 being fight of the night. One never knows what will happen for certain when prognosticating a fight but all facts lead to the potential for fight of the year.
Donald Cerrone comes into this fight with a 17-4-1 record and of the 22 fights only 6 have gone to decision. Jeremy Stephens (20-7) has only gone to decision 7 times. The only things stopping these two from a fight of the night pay out is that it may end too early. If this does happen it is likely one will receive a knockout or submission of the night bonus.
As we have seen in his previous fights, Cerrone does enjoy striking but he rarely knocks anyone out. He has submitted 13 opponents so far including Chris Horodecki, Danny Castillo & Dennis Siver. With 14 KO/TKO Stephens will look to keep this on the feet & turn it into a slugfest. Cerrone many be inclined to do so but if he wants to win convincingly, taking Stephens down & tapping him out is the way to do it.
With Greg Jackson in his corner there is no doubt Cerrone will come in with a wise game plan. How long that game plan will stay in place once the bell rings & the energy builds is yet to be seen. Cerrone may very well get caught up in the action Stephens will bring & stand in the center of the octagon exchanging punches. Some fans have called some of Jackson’s students boring fighters. Cerrone generally is not, even with a Jackson strategy in place.
What is vitally important for both fighters is that they win. Both are coming off losses & do not want to be buried in the very deep UFC lightweight division. Cerrone lost a one sided fight to Nate Diaz back at UFC 141 in December 2011. Cerrone needs to get back to his winning ways to stay near the top as before that loss he had won 6 consecutive fights including 4 in a row in the UFC.
Stephens is coming off a loss to Anthony Pettis at UFC 136 in October 2011. He had won two fights before that & needs a win to inch back up the rankings. It would appear both fighter’s jobs are safe if they lose. Each one is a fan favorite & always puts on an exciting fight evidenced by the number of bonus checks they have picked up. Championship gold should be their goal so neither will worry about their job security when the fight starts. Only winning this fight to move on & take on a top 5-10 ranked opponent will be on their mind.
With their reputations, ability to strike & finish fights it would definitely appear this fight will be action packed. The fact both have a desire & need to win adds to the allure of this bout. If they do not win the fight of the night bonus then the fight would have likely ended in the first round. Do not blink when this fight starts. Also be prepared for something very special that fans may be talking about for a long time.
Written by Mike McPhee
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