When the UFC moved Rousey vs. Zingano to UFC 184, we thought that UFC 182 would lose some of its luster. When the UFC replaced it with Cerrone vs Jury, UFC 182 got even more explosive. Though this may not be a title bout, it has title implications written all over it.

Ride ‘Em High Cowboy

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone had a very busy 2014. The Cowboy went 4-0 this year with victories over Adriano Martins, Edson Barbosa, Jim Miller and Eddie Alvarez. Cerrone didn’t just survive that murderer’s row, scored three stoppages and one lopsided unanimous decision win. He also earned $150,000 for winning three post-fight bonuses for his spectacular handiwork which has catapulted him to the #4 spot in the UFC’s lightweight division.The 31 year old Cerrone has never fought for a UFC title, but if he continues to ride ‘em high, this cowboy’s bound to get one very soon.

The Jury is Out

Undefeated lightweight Myles Jury is a silent worker who does most of his talking inside the Octagon. Once dubbed as a top prospect, the jury is now out on “Fury” as a legitimate contender after an impressive unbeaten run of fifteen victories which include seven knockouts and five submissions. In 2014, Jury took out Diego Sanchez via decision at UFC 171 and knocked out Takanori Gomi at UFC FN 52. Now ranked #8 in the UFC’s lightweight division, Jury can move higher up that ladder with a victory over Cerrone.

Offense versus Defense

Cerrone is one of the UFC’s most popular fighters. He is known for being active and entertaining. He proved both in 2014. Cerrone hasn’t only fought more frequently, he’s improved vastly after each win. In his most recent fight against Eddie Alvarez, Cerrone used the entire Muay Thai book to punish the former Bellator champion at UFC 178. Cerrone is a volume striker, averaging 3.96 strikes landed per minute at a 47% accuracy. On the other hand, Jury owns one of the best defenses the weight class has ever seen. His 1.22 strikes absorbed per minute is the lowest in lightweight history. Jury also has a 76% strike defense, meaning only 24% of his opponents’ strikes find their mark. With these contrasting strengths, which is going to give at UFC 182?

Who Takes it

Cerrone is the odds-on-favorite to win the contest. At best, Cowboy is a -188 favorite and Jury a +196 underdog. More than talent, the reason for this is Octagon Experience. Jury has fought six times in the UFC and the biggest names he fought were Diego Sanchez and Michael Johnson. On the other hand, Cerrone has shared the octagon with Benson Henderson, Nate Diaz, Anthony Pettis and Rafael Dos Anjos although he lost in all those bouts. But those losses are now a distant memory as Cerrone is on a five fight winning streak and has stopped three top contenders in a row in Barbosa, Miller and Alvarez. Experts are picking Cerrone to stop Jury in Round 2 by knockout or TKO.

The Cowboy’s ridden this far for a crack at the title that it’s hard to imagine he will lose sight. A big win over a top ten contender like Jury should get him the first crack at the winner between Anthony Pettis and Rafael Dos Anjos. You bet Cowboy’s aching for revenge against both.

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