UFC 141 preview: Donald Cerrone looks to make it five straight wins against Nate Diaz

Donald Cerrone(left) will face Nate Diaz at UFC 141

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?

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  • edub

    No Diaz should not be this big of an underdog. Your statement about either being capable of winning is dead on accurate.

    Mini breakdown by edub:

    The losses Donald Cerrone has or to a certain type of fighter. He got the brakes beaten off him by Jamie Varner (only for one judge to somehow think the fight was actually close). He and Ben went tooth in nail to a decision in one of the greatest fights ever (I had him winning it). Then he got subbed early by Bendo in the rematch (also avenging his loss to Varner afterwards).

    Diaz can take away that he can be submitted from this, and Diaz has a great guillotine choke. However, both Varner (at his peak) and Ben’s wrestling are world’s better than Nate’s so forcing a scramble will be a lot harder. On top of that Donal’s wrestling/grappling ability has shown massive improvement.

    Diaz losses also all follow a similar pattern. He lost to Koji Oishi in his second professional fight (coincidentally Koji just got beat up by Nick two months earlier, he got subbed by Franca a year later (two fights later Franca was fighting for the UFC title), and other than that he’s lost close entertaining decisions to wrestlers. Gray beat him by landing the harder shots on the feet, but the decision was very close. Joe Daddy won the position battle in one of the most exciting grappling fights you’ll ever see. Clay squeaked by him by SD, DHK barely finished the third round after controling the first two with wrestling/judo, and Macdonald slammed him on his head for an emphatic decision victory.

    The one thing all those guys have in common is they are better wrestlers than Diaz. Even Franca was a better wrestler, and had the better JJ at the time.

    Donald is not going to have that type of advantage here (although his wrestling is a little bit better than Nate’s).

    IMO Donald’s path to victory is controling the range with good kicks, and sneaking in a takedown for points every now and then. He won’t be able to sub Nate as their grappling simply isn’t close, and he probably won’t be able to KO him.

    Nate’s keys are getting in close, and forcing Donald to exchange with him (where his accurate volume punching could easily wear out the Cowboy). Then at some point force a scramble over a possibly tiring Donald, and grab his neck or an appendage when it’s open.

    If I have to pick, I’ll say that Donald’s anger going into this fight will force him to make a mistake and Nate will capitalize. This fight is 50/50 so with an imaginary coin flip I’ll pick Nate.

    If Nate’s at +215 when I get home, you better believe some money is going down on him.

  • RealRickyRoss

    Good write up from both of you…Thanks!