Even though he’s coming off the first two fight skid of his career, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (32-9 and 1 NC) is about as dangerous as welterweights come.
Cerrone has evolved over his UFC career to become a top five kicker. His dexterity and flexibility lets him generate absurd power on kicks from both sides; his switch kicks to the legs and head carry enough force to stagger the toughest opponents while his roundhouse head kick carries the touch of death. He keeps his punches compact and picks his shots well, which works with his kicks to make his attacks impossible to block.
Weirdly though, this version of Cerrone is fairly new. Prior to 2015, Cerrone won only 4 fights by knockout compared to 15 by submission. He isn’t a grappling savant but understands how to use his natural gifts. There’s a reason an overwhelming portion of his submissions come by either triangle choke or rear naked choke; both submissions make use of his spider-like legs which can snake around an opponent’s torso or neck.
Cerrone has two weaknesses that have plagued him throughout his career. First, he is notoriously vulnerable to the liver shot. Second, he can’t mount an offense moving backward which allows opponents to exploit holes in his defense. Aggressive, measured fighters with a body attack have overwhelmed Cerrone for the worst losses of his career.
Talking a big game, Darren Till (15-0-1) has the type of record that inspires confidence.
While Till’s boast of being the best welterweight striker is outlandish, he’s got some nifty tools that make him dangerous on the feet. He has a long, ramrod cross which carries power that would make Tetsuya Ishihara proud. He’ll dive in with elbows when his opponent is watching for the long punch and his southpaw roundhouse kick can stagger opponents even through a solid guard.
But Till is also a gifted counter fighter.
We’re not just talking about straight punches either; Till can catch opponents coming in with uppercuts from blind angles. Don’t let the two wins by decision in the UFC fool you; in both fights Till hurt his opponents and couldn’t finish them off. The only reason Till drew against Nicolas Dalby was because the latter man caught Till with a head kick and lay on enough damage to make it a 10-8 round. Before that, Till was lighting Dalby up with counters.
Truthfully, we don’t really know what it takes to beat Darren Till yet.
With over 40 professional fights under his belt, nothing will surprise Cerrone. Till may be a promising upstart but he doesn’t hold a candle to the men Cerrone’s beaten. Cerrone can beat Till by being himself while Till will have to dig deep and overcome a monumental leap in competition.
Look for Cerrone to overwhelm Till as the fight progresses, hacking away at the Brit’s legs until a head kick sneaks through.
Cerrone via KO
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