Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone is perhaps the most eagerly anticipated fight on Saturday night’s UFC 238. Here’s how we see it playing out.
On a night with two title fights – one of them being a super-fight, for the event’s third-billed bout to be as completely tantalising as this one is something of a rarity.
In many ways, the fact that it’s not a five-round main-event may diminish the fight we experience on the night but even still, Tony Ferguson vs. Donald Cerrone is an incredibly intriguing contest.
It’s easy to pick at these two guys’ strengths and weaknesses and come to the conclusion that it’s Tony’s fight to lose.
But I think the x-factors on offer here make this one far denser than that.
Ferguson’s run through the elite of the elite at lightweight has caused many to consider him the uncrowned champion of the division.
To be honest, it’s a sentiment I can appreciate.
In my eyes, the 155lb weight-class has two champions, two surging contenders who have been tearing through the divisional ‘who’s who’ in recent times – two guys who boast championship-level resumés.
Ferguson’s may even be more impressive – or, at the very least, more diverse – than Khabib’s.
Tony is a relentless offensive force who mixes unparalleled cardio and inimitable creativity with a 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu black-belt and an unflinching desire to win.
Fans of Cowboy will come into this one with every reason to be worried.
On paper, the famously slow-starting kickboxer should in some ways be seen as a lamb brought to the slaughter against El Cucuy.
But I do not believe that to be the case at all.
Cerrone has found a new lease of life in his last few outings, beating down Al Iaquinta at UFC Ottawa last month just after finishing both Alexander Hernandez and Mike Perry.
He might be 36, but it has become very apparent that Donald is still very much improving and hungrier than ever for success.
A trio of brutal defeats to Jorge Masvidal, Robbie Lawler, and Darren Till should have spelt the end of Cowboy’s time as an elite-level talent.
And yet here we are.
I do believe that people are being unfair to Cerrone’s chances to upsetting the odds here.
Tony can be hit and gets dropped quite frequently.
The problem has always been putting him away, something even the most natural of finishers couldn’t do.
So as much as I would not be surprised to see Cowboy pull it off, I honestly believe that Ferguson will break him – but not without encountering difficulty.
Signing to fight just one month after his last outing was a ‘Cerrone-move’ if ever I saw one but in all honesty, I think it’s going to work towards his downfall here.
I see this one looking almost identical to the Anthony Pettis fight at UFC 229.
Expect Cerrone to have his moments and perhaps even clip Ferguson hard at one point or another.
In the end, I think Tony will score a finish either late in the first or in the second.
Prediction: Tony Ferguson by second-round TKO
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena