The UFC Fight Night 27 battle between Donald Cerrone and Rafael dos Anjos has the potential to win Fight of the Night and produce a new contender in the lightweight ranks.
As much as we often talk about “anything can happen” and “on any given night, anyone can beat anyone,” nowhere are those statements more valid than in the 155-pound ranks. Exhibit 967 in support of that came a couple weekends ago in Boston when Michael “The Menace” Johnson put an absolute hurting on hometown boy Joe Lauzon… after losing his previous fight to Reza Madadi.
Wednesday night in Indianapolis, there is a lightweight clash on the card that will have an impact on the divisional rankings, but more than anything, it will be another kick-ass scrap between two tough and talented fighters eager to prove they’re the next emerging contender in the ultra-competitive lightweight division.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone
Streak: One win
Last Fight: Win – K.J. Noons, Unanimous Decision (UFC 160)
Notable Wins: Jamie Varner, Dennis Siver, Melvin Guillard
Rafael dos Anjos
Streak: Four consecutive wins
Last Fight: Win – Evan Dunham, Split Decision (UFC on FX 8)
Notable Wins: Dunham, Mark Bocek, George Sotiropoulos
Why I Love This Fight
Have you ever seen “Cowboy” Cerrone fight?
The ornery Team Jackson-Winkeljohn representative almost always brings the goods when the cage door closes, and his ultra-aggressive approach to beating up people is really fun to watch. When he’s on point, Cerrone has bounce to his movement and snaps off leg kicks and combos with malicious intent.
After starting his UFC career with consecutive losses—including being on the business end of a Jeremy Stephens’ uppercut of doom—dos Anjos has actually blossomed into a very well-rounded contender in the lightweight division. He showed his knockout power when he blistered George Sotiropoulos at UFC 132, and his grappling game has always been solid. Now that he’s putting it all together, the 28-year-old Brazilian is becoming someone who other emerging contenders might want to avoid on the way up the divisional ladder.
And that’s why this is such a killer fight.
Cerrone isn’t the kind of guy to back down from anyone, even “tough outs” who don’t have a very high profile. He signs on the dotted line, meets them in the Octagon, and deals with the outcome once the dust settles.
For dos Anjos, this is his chance to put himself in the lightweight Top 10, or, at the very least, secure himself a place on the fringes of the upper echelon. He’s steadily worked his way up the rankings, and if he’s going to be considered a contender, “Cowboy” is precisely the type of fighter he needs to beat to advance to the next level of competition.
“Cowboy” needs this win too. As much as he’s reliable from an entertainment standpoint—he’s earned six Fight Night bonuses in nine UFC fights—he’s historically stumbled against top competition throughout his career. While dos Anjos isn’t on the same level as Nate Diaz or Anthony Pettis (the last two men to defeat Cerrone), he’s a step up from Melvin Guillard and current featherweights Dennis Siver and Charles Oliveira.
Because the division is so deep and so full of talent, making an impact and keeping your name in the title conversation is imperative. You can be sure these two fighters know that, and they’ll be looking to make a lasting impression in the minds of the UFC brass and fight fans on Wednesday night.