The UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem card features a co-main event between two action packed lightweights in Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz. This is a pretty big fight within the UFC lightweight division as Cerrone has won his last four fights in exciting fashion while Diaz probably had his most dominant performance as a lightweight his last time out. Let’s see how this one shakes out.
Nate Diaz comes into this fight with an overall record of (14-7) with 10 wins via submission and three wins via TKO/KO. Diaz was last seen in action destroying former PRIDE champion Takanori Gomi back at UFC 135 as he made his return to the lightweight division after a short stint as a welterweight. Diaz has is lengthy with very effective boxing, great cardio, great chin, and a very good ground game. The one hole in his game is takedown defense against fighters with good wrestling backgrounds. He is a finisher with only one win via decision.
Donald Cerrone comes into this fight with an overall record of (17-3, 1NC) with 13 wins via submission and one win via TKO/KO. Cerrone was last seen in action putting Dennis Siver away in the first round back at UFC 137 via rear naked choke after rocking him with punches. Cerrone hasn’t lost in a year and a half and seems to have improved drastically since his WEC days where he was a top lightweight in the promotion. Cerrone is also lengthy with good muay thai striking, a great chin, and an underrated ground game. Cerrone boasts that he has the best striking in the lightweight division and that he’ll knock folk out. However, he only has one win via TKO/KO and that came in the fight before his last one.
Bet on Fighting has Donald Cerrone as the betting favorite at (-275) and Diaz as the underdog at (+215).
I would defnitely put some money on Diaz at those odds. This fight is a pick’em fight in my opinion with either very capable of winning.
Let’s talk about the ways each fighter can win really quickly. Diaz has only been finished once in his entire career, a submission loss to Hermes Franca really early in his career. He has never been knocked out and Cerrrone only has one TKO/KO on his resume so the chance of Cerrone knocking Diaz out is relatively small. Cerrone has never been knocked out and Diaz has only finished three opponents via TKO/KO. However, I’d say that Diaz has more of a chance of finishing Cerrone via this method than vice versa. Both fighters have only been submitted once in MMA, but I think Diaz has the overall better ground game.
This fight is going to come down to establishes their range the quickest. Cerrone has been doing a much better job of late, but has been known to get off to slow starts in the past. Diaz will likely be the aggressor with his volume striking which has become much more accurate as of late. If Cerrone allows Diaz to find his rhythm he could be in trouble as Diaz is a much more dangerous fighter when he starts to exude confidence(you’ll see him taunting his opponents). Cerrone needs to get off early and first and possibly look to take Diaz down just to keep him guessing. However, he needs to be careful on the ground as Diaz’s guard is really active.
This fight certainly has the potential to be fight of the night, but I think it’ll be a much more technical fights instead of nonstop action the whole time. I’m leaning towards Diaz taking this fight as I think he has more ways to win. I can certainly see him submitting Cerrone or outstriking him to win a judges decision. The only way I see Cerrone winning is to strike enough to take Diaz down to win a judges decision like every other loss Diaz has as a lightweight.
Should Diaz be this big of an underdog?