The UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle event received a great fight on paper just a few short weeks ago. Donald Cerrone had two opponents pull out of this fight with him, but the always exciting Charles Oliveira agreed to step in on short notice after competing at the end of June. The winner of this fight will likely face an upper tier UFC lightweight as both have been fairly impressive inside the octagon.
Donald Cerrone comes into this fight with a overall record of (15-3) with 12 wins via submission. He has won his last four fights which include his last two fights in the WEC and his first two fights in the UFC after the merger of the two brands. Cerrone has a background in muay thai and submission grappling. Interestingly enough, Cerrone has never won a MMA fight via TKO/KO even though he likes to ‘stand and bang’. Cerrone has a great chin, but is a notorious slow starter.
Charles Oliveira comes into this fight with a overall record of (14-1) with 7 wins via submission and 6 wins via TKO/KO. Oliveira’s last fight ended in a no contest when he landed an illegal knee against his opponent before finishing him with a rear naked choke. Oliveira’s only defeat came in the bout before that where he was submitted by UFC lightweight contender Jim Miller in the first round. Oliveira is very aggressive and is comfortable no matter where the fight takes place and is always looking for the finish as he only has one win via decision.
When I started to think about who I was going to pick in this fight I began to think about all of the different factors that will go into this bout. Cerrone’s tendacy to start slow, Cerrone’s reach and size advantage, and the ground games of each fighter. The style of both fighters is that they like to stand and trade, neither mind going to the ground, but neither has the wrestling base to give an the advantage to in dictating where the fight will take place.
I think Oliveira’s aggressive style could be the difference in this fight. Cerrone seems to favor absorbing strikes to deliver his own and that’s never a good thing. As I mentioned, Cerrone isn’t a huge threat to knock anyone out on the feet despite his background in muay thai. I think I would give the edge to Oliveira on the ground as I think he does a better job of using his speed to chain submission attempts together and always looks to pass guard even though Cerrone has more submission wins. While Oliveira has the ability to stop his opponents with strikes, Cerrone has a very good chin as I mentioned earlier and has never been stopped via TKO/KO.
Admittedly, Oliveira is a fighter that I’ve become a fan of and I certainly don’t think this is an easy fight for him by any means. I could see Cerrone winning this via decision or possibly catching Oliveira in a submission with those long legs of his. However, I think the quickness of Oliveira will be a big factor in this one as he’ll use his movement to pepper the stalking Cerrone with legkicks. Once he establishes his range he could try to take Cerrone down by putting him against the cage. While Cerrone has decent takedown defense, he will get lazy and give up a takedown at times as well. If Oliveira gets top position on the ground that would certainly favor him as he look to do damage to open up a submission attempt.
So I think Oliveira wins this one either via decision or submission.