Donald Cerrone is the most active fighter in the UFC by having fought 15 fights in a span of three years. But he took that to the next level by accepting a fight against former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson on a two week notice. Whether that move will make Cerrone a genius or a fool will be known on Saturday night when he meets Henderson for the third time in their MMA careers.
Third Time’s the Charm?
Saturday won’t be the first time Donald Cerrone will share the Octagon with Benson Henderson because the two have fought twice when they were still with the WEC promotion. Henderson won both bouts, including the 2010 WEC lightweight title bout where Henderson submitted Cerrone in the first round with a guillotine. Their other bout was a thrilling five round decision which was named Fight of The Year. But despite Henderson’s dominance over Cerrone in the past, a lot has changed since then. Henderson is just 2-2 in his last four bouts and is coming off a stunning first round loss to Rafael Dos Anjos last August 2014. On the other hand, Cerrone has been on a tear, winning six consecutive fights since November 2014 including four stoppages and four consecutive post fight awards. Cerrone had just defeated then unbeaten prospect Myles Jury at UFC 182 last January 3. But when Eddie Alvarez pulled out of his bout with Henderson, Cerrone didn’t hesitate to pitch in for Alvarez even though the fight was two weeks away. Asked why he took the fight on such a short notice, Cerrone was quick to reply “why not?” via twitter. And Cerrone may have a point. With the way he’s been fighting, the third time may finally be the charm for The Cowboy.
Cerrone is a rhythm kick boxer who is most effective when he is on the attack and moving forward. The former Muay Thai professional fighter has a very efficient jab-cross combination which is ably supported by a lot of leg kicks. He also is a very competent wrestler who is hard to put on the ground and even when he is on the mat, he possesses very sound defense. Offensively, Cerrone has a very good guard and can easily transition into a submission attempt or move in for a vicious ground and pound.
Despite the vast improvement in his all-around game, Cerrone is a notorious late starter who often gives up the first round trying to find his rhythm. That will be to his disadvantage against Henderson who is known to be one of the sport’s fast starters who is relentless in throwing bombs at his opponent. Henderson has also evolved into a very complete fighter and has dramatically improved in every facet of the game.
Henderson is a monster and dominates the opposition with his brute strength. He wears down his opponents by dragging them against the fence and punishing them in the clinch. Unfortunately for Cowboy, fighting against the fence has been his weakness and exposes the remaining deficiencies of his defensive game. Henderson is the slight favorite in this one at -150 while Cerrone is the underdog at +150. Most fight experts believe this fight will go the distance with Henderson winning a unanimous decision score of 29-28. But this doesn’t mean that Cerrone will be an easy prey for Bendo. Cowboy is on a roll and personally asked for this fight not only because he wants to settle the score with Ben but because this could be the shorter route to a title shot.