The UFC heads to Ottawa for its first Canadian event of the year with UFC Fight Night 150 scheduled for May 4, 2019 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
UFC Fight Night Ottawa will be headlined by a lightweight bout between Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and “Raging” Al Iaquinta. Odds for the entire event aren’t available yet but that won’t stop us from making our picks for the bouts.
Al Iaquinta vs Donald Cerrone
Donald Cerrone recently moved down back to the 155-pound division after campaigning as a welterweight for quite some time. After Cowboy submitted Mike Perry in a welterweight bout, he faced the highly-touted Alexander Hernandez in a lightweight bout last January. Cerrone knocked out the brash prospect in less than two rounds as he announced his return to his old weight class.
Cowboy enters this fight with a record of 35-11-0-1 with 10 knockouts and 17 wins by submission. He stands 6-1 with a reach of 73 inches while fighting at the orthodox style. Before his twin victories over Hernandez and Perry, Cerrone lost four out of five bouts at welterweight. That happened after he had started his welterweight campaign with a 4-0 record with 4 stoppage wins.
Iaquinta is coming off a dominant five-round unanimous decision win over Kevin Lee last December, his second win over the Motown Phenom. Prior to that, Iaquinta stepped in on short notice to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title. Iaquinta gave Khabib a good fight but the Dagestani ended up keeping his belt.
Raging Al has a fight record of 14-4-1 with seven knockouts and one submission victory. The New York native stands 5-9 and has a reach of 70 inches. Iaquinta is 6-1 with four wins via stoppage in his last seven fights with his only loss during that period to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
This is an interesting fight because while Cerrone is primarily a striker, he is a balanced fighter who is comfortable fighting on the ground. Cerrone. On the other hand, Iaquinta is an excellent wrestler who averages 1.29 takedowns per 15 minutes. But when it comes to striking averages both almost have equal output with Cowboy landing 4.3 significant strikes per minute against Iaquinta’s 4.2. Both fighters also absorb an average of 4.05 significant strikes per minute. Raging Al has the better striking accuracy at 48% vs 41% while Cerrone has better striking defense at 62% vs 54%.
What those numbers don’t show though is how crafty Cerrone can be with his striking and how fluid he can be with his offense. Iaquinta’s a big and tough guy but he’s easy to hit and someone you can pile up the points on. Given Cerrone’s advantage in height and reach, I think Cerrone can win this bout fighting at a distance.
Iaquinta needs to close the gap and in doing so, will be tagged by Cowboy going in. Cerrone is also an excellent counter-puncher. Raging Al would love to take this fight to the mat where he can use his wrestling but Cerrone has excellent submission skills down there too. Where this fight goes, I think Cowboy has the edge.
I think Cerrone dictates the pace of this striking bout and lands at will against the shorter Iaquinta. Ragin Al will be dangerous with his right hand but Cowboy is good at telegraphing punches and will be able to avoid getting nailed by bombs. After three rounds, Iaquinta is going to slow down and Cerrone starts to take over. My MMA betting prediction: Donald Cerrone by decision
Derek Brunson vs Elias Theodorou
Derek Brunson is looking to return to the winning column after back to back knockout losses to Israel Adesanya and Jacare Souza. Brunson is 9-4 in his UFC career with seven wins by knockout in the first round. Brunson is a southpaw who stands 6-1 and has a 77 inch reach. His overall record is 18-7 with 11 knockouts and 3 submission victories.
Theodorou enters this fight having won five out of his last six bouts. The Spartan is coming off a split decision over Eryk Anders at UFC 231 last December 8, 2019. Theodorou has a record of 16-2 with five knockouts and two victories by submission. The Montreal native has gone the distance in each of his last seven bouts.
Theodorou can fight three full rounds and he is good in the clinch. However, he does not have the punching power that can keep Brunson’s aggression at bay. On the other hand, Brunson is a powerful striker with a good takedown game. I think Brunson is going to walk through Theodorou down and knock him out cold.
Prediction: Derek Brunson by knockout
Cub Swanson vs Shane Burgos
Cub Swanson enters this bout with a three-fight losing streak dating back to April 207. Swanson was submitted by Moicano, outpointed by Frankie Edgar and submitted by Brian Ortega. Before those, Cub won four in a row and 10 of 12 bouts while earning 8 post fight bonuses in the UFC and WEC combined.
Burgos has fought five times in the UFC and twice he’s walked away with Fight of the Night bonuses, including one during his knockout loss to Calvin Kattar in January 2018. In his last bout, Burgos earned his fastest submission win, tapping Kurt Holobaugh by armbar in 2:11 of round 11 last November 2018.
Swanson only knows one way to fight and that is to move forward and punch. Burgos is a balanced fighter who can score a knockout and submit an opponent. He’s an up and comer but can he take Cub’s punches. When the odds come out, I think Burgos is the favorite and Swanson is going to be the underdog. I think Cub has too much experience and punching power for the young guy.
Prediction: Cub Swanson by knockout
Brad Katona vs Merab Dvalishvili
Brad Katona is a good prospect to keep an eye on. If you take his glasses, he’s a killer inside that octagon. He works hard and has a good skill set. Katona is 8-0 with 1 KO and 2 submission wins. He stands 5-6 and has a reach of 65 inches.
Merab Dvalishvili is 8-4 with 2 knockouts and 1 submission. He’s been unlucky in his first two UFC bouts but was impressive against Terrion Ware the last time out. Merab is definitely better than what his record shows. Dvalishvili stands 5-6 with a reach of 68 inches.
I don’t see this fight ending prematurely. Both are okay ground fighters and don’t have punching power. This will go three rounds but I think Dvalishvili is better skilled overall.
Prediction: Merab Dvalishvili by decision
Walt Harris vs Sergey Spivak
Walt Harris welcomes the highly touted Sergey Spivak to the UFC. Harris is coming off a win over Andrei Arlovski but that win was overturned after he failed a drug test. Harris is 3-2 in his last five bouts excluding the Arlovski bout. He stands 6-5 with a reach of 77 inches.
Spivak is undefeated in nine professional bouts, all fought in his native Ukraine. Eight of those bouts ended in round one and he is coming off a neck crank win over veteran Tony Lopez the last time out. He stands 6-3 with an undisclosed reach. Spivak in eight years younger than Harris. Spivak can finish fights with his hands or with submission moves. His more versatile game should be the key here.
Prediction: Sergey Spivak by submission