Donald Cerrone: Up against the wall
UFC veteran and fan favorite, Donald Cerrone (32-10, 1 NC) even said himself that he is like a cornered animal right now and needs to fight for his life. He has lost three straight fights, two of which came by knockout, and is in serious danger of dropping out of the welterweight rankings. To Cerrone's credit, he has fought absolute killers like Darren Till, Robbie Lawler, and Jorge Masvidal. These three losses came right after a four fight winning streak to open his welterweight career.
Cerrone's welterweight debut came against Alex Oliveira, the same man that Medeiros went to war with in that amazing fight in December. Unlike Medeiros who was nearly knocked out by Oliveira, Cerrone finished him in the first round with a triangle.
Given the outcomes of his last three fights, it would not be surprising to see Cerrone take this fight to the ground. "Cowboy" loves to stand and trade but people often forget how good he is on the ground. He has a black-belt in jiu-jitsu and holds 16 submission victories. Benson Henderson is the only man to finish Cerrone by submission.
Yancy Medeiros: Main event debut
30-year-old welterweight Yancy Medeiros broke onto the scene thanks to one of the most exciting fights ever seen at UFC 208. He managed to get a TKO victory in the third round over Alex Oliveira after almost being knocked out himself. The fight won the ESPN 2017 Fight of the Year. Medeiros will likely get into another brawl with Donald Cerrone who loves to throw down.
Medeiros would like to keep Cerrone in close proximity so he can brawl but avoid the devastating kicks of "Cowboy." Even if the fight goes to the ground, Medeiros should be able to hold his own. He holds four submission victories and has only been submitted once in his career by jiu-jitsu expert, Jim Miller.
It will be very interesting to see how Medeiros holds up in a five round fight. If he fights anything like he did in his epic battle with Oliveira, the fight will not make it past three rounds. He fought to the point of utter exhaustion over two and a half rounds and Cerrone will pick him apart if his cardio does not hold up.
Although he has seen his share of troubles lately, Donald Cerrone has a more complete game than Yancy Medeiros. He also has far more experience in main events and lengthy fights. That experience will show itself if the fight makes it into the fourth or fifth round.
Cerrone has the ability to take the fight anywhere. His kicks will be very dangerous if Medeiros fights as offensively as he did in his last fight. He can also take the fight to the ground and gain an advantage even if he does not secure a submission.
This will really come down to what Donald Cerrone has been doing in training. He did not look like himself against Darren Till but hopefully he has been taking his training seriously. At this point in the career of Medeiros, he does not have as many weapons as Cerrone but he may be outworking him at the gym. Cerrone should be smart enough to not look past Medeiros and will have a gameplan to overwhelm him.
Cerrone by TKO