- A fight between Al Iaquinta and Donald Cerrone headlines UFC Fight Night 151. Iaquinta and Cerrone, two top-10 lightweights, are both coming off bonus-winning victories
- Can a refocused and motivated Cerrone take another step toward a second UFC lightweight title shot?
- Will the outspoken and talented Iaquinta show that he remains a viable UFC lightweight title challenger?
The UFC returns to Canada’s capital of Ottawa for the first time in nearly three years for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 151, which takes place Saturday, May 4th at Canadian Tire Center. In the main event, Al Iaquinta, who is the no. 4 ranked lightweight in the official UFC rankings, meets the no. 8 ranked Donald Cerrone in what could be a pivotal bout in the 155-pound division.
Iaquinta was on a five-fight winning streak heading into last year’s UFC 223 fight card, where he was scheduled to face Paul Felder. On weigh-in day, Max Holloway was deemed medically unfit to compete against lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in UFC 223’s main event. With that, Iaquinta was slotted into the title fight. His winning streak came to an end with a unanimous decision loss to Nurmagomedov. Iaquinta bounced back from that defeat with a “Performance of the Night” bonus-winning decision victory over Kevin Lee in December.
UFC Fight Night 151: Iaquinta vs Cerrone Odds
|Fighter||Spread at Bovada|
Cerrone, famous for his willingness to face any opponent at any time, returned to the lightweight ranks in January after spending three years and 10 fights in the welterweight division. The New Mexico based Cerrone delivered in that return, knocking out the rising Alexander Hernandez in the second round. Cerrone pocketed $100,000 in bonuses for that victory when he was awarded “Performance of the Night” and “Fight of the Night” honors for his efforts.
Iaquinta has not been the most active fighter. He spent two years away from the octagon between April 2015 and April 2017 and then took another year off between April 2017 and April 2018. That Iaquinta is fighting Cerrone after defeating Lee in December seems to indicate that the 31-year-old New Yorker knows that he needs to stay busy and compete against recognizable names if he hopes to remain relevant in the lightweight division. Another thing Iaquinta needs to do is keep winning.
Iaquinta does his best work when he can establish his range and work at a steady pace with the goal of hurting his opponent and then going for the finish. The most crucial aspect of Iaquinta’s game is that he doesn’t get sloppy in his offense nor does he put himself out of position.
Cerrone’s kickboxing style could keep Iaquinta at distance, but the problem with Cerrone is that he often takes a fair amount of time to get his head into the fight. If he starts slow in this contest he could find that Iaquinta has already established the range where the fight will be contested at and that range will not be in Cerrone’s favor.
The 36-year-old Cerrone has intimated that he’s a different fighter since the birth of his son in June 2018. His stoppage wins over Mike Perry and Hernandez do seem to reflect an added sense of urgency has crept into Cerrone’s game. However, Cerrone has also battled with consistency issues throughout his career, so this fight could be a critical one for Cerrone’s future trajectory.
Iaquinta vs Cerrone Tale of the Tape
|Al Iaquinta||Category||Donald Cerrone|
|155 pounds||Weight||155 pounds|
|4.30||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||4.20|
|4.05||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||4.06|
|0.81||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||1.29|
|0.3||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||1.4|
While Cerrone has looked excellent in his past two outings, I think he’s going to struggle with the boxing style of Iaquinta, especially if Iaquinta decides to target Cerrone’s body early and often. I see Iaquinta taking advantage of Cerrone’s history of starting slow and establishing his range early and using his inside boxing skills to thwart Cerrone’s attempts to get the fight at kickboxing range. Iaquinta could land a damaging body blow that might end the fight early, but it’s more likely that he takes this one in a five-round decision.
Pick: Iaquinta (-135)