It’s not unusual for the main event to be the second best fight on a card in the UFC, however, in 2019 this is the first time it’s happening.
UFC 238 is being headlined by Cejudo v Moraes, but its the third last fight on the card many are looking forward to the most. The lightweight clash between Tony Ferguson v Donald Cerrone is the fight of the night hands down!
Ferguson and Cerrone are part of the lightweight royals that are blessing and blazing our screens with top fights every time a main UFC card comes around. A lightweight super clash ended our 2018 with Nurmagomedov v McGregor which rightfully broke UFC pay-per-view records. The fight showed us how beautiful and ugly the UFC can be, from McGregor’s racial slurs and religious insults aimed at Nurmagomedov (the ugly) to the electrifying beauty that was the fight between the biggest names in the lightweight division. After it was all said and done one man came out victorious and vindicated, the other humbled, battered, bruised and out of breath. I still can’t wash that image of McGregor staring across the Octagon after tapping out. Or maybe its because my friends still send me the GIFs and memes every time I make a fight prediction. Khabib’s dominant performance was almost watered down by the brawl that followed after, Dana White refusing to give him the belt and the unfair ban that followed.
Fast forward to 2019, UFC 236 an interim belt (I hate those things) had been brought into play, to the outrage of many fight fans who saw it as an insult to Nurmagomedov. Featherweight king Max Holloway stepped up a division to face Dustin Porier in an attempt to unify the featherweight and lightweight division titles. The fight was a revenge or rename type of bout with Holloway facing Porier who had put an MMA class against a younger Holloway years ago. The fight was on fan’s lips from the day it was announced, Porier was on a three fight win streak which came vs three former lightweight champions. The fight lived up to (and exceeded) the hype if you ask me, Porier was the aggressor and pace setter and won three of the five rounds on offer. To my dismay Porier rocked Holloway more times than I have ever seen Holloway rocked, he went on to put his name up with the best in the division. Porier’s win meant the number one contender spot was confirmed.
Enter Ferguson, the man who tore his ACL on the set of a news station before his shot at the title at UFC 209 back in 2017. He made his return to the octagon sooner than expected and beat the now #8 ranked Anthony Pettis, despite Pettis’ efforts to target Ferguson’s bad knee. Ferguson faces #4 ranked Donald Cerrone who is the best finisher in UFC history. This is as good as it gets for the lightweight division as #2 and #4 ranked fighters square off, its the best the lightweight can offer us till UFC 242 in September. The winner of Ferguson v Cerrone will surely take on the champ early 2020.
If you can’t tell from the way I’m gushing, I will say it plain and simple. The lightweight division is the best division in the UFC.
Ferguson v Cerrone Breakdown
Both men are very efficient strikers and with the fight being just a three-round spectacle we are in for a treat. They both land a significant number of strikes per minute and absorb strikes too, they are all about attack. I can’t say either one of them has a glass jaw but that’s not to say those who see a knockout are pushing it. Both fighters are unorthodox and don’t have a recognized fighting style, as such I for-see a slugfest with a lot of stance changes and variations as both fighters look to assert themselves in the fight.
Cerrone is the more superior grappler who uses the takedown efficiently and effectively although he loves nothing more than being on his feet. He is likely to use his grappling skills to slow down Ferguson, if Ferguson has the upper hand early on. However Cerrone must be careful and pick his moments very very well, Ferguson is also unorthodox when taken down. I’m sure Cerrone is worried about trying to submit the smaller and tough to submit Ferguson, who has turned takedown defence into submission wins.
The fight will go the distance and the judges will make the call, noone will get knocked out.
Since I started following the UFC six years ago, I fail to remember a fight that had me struggling to make a pick such as this one. For my pick, I either go with my eye test, gut, head or who I like.
Each has served me well bar who I like here are some examples -:
- Eye test – McGregor win vs Diaz.
- Gut – Holm win vs Rousey.
- Head – Jones win vs Cormier, in the second fight.
- Who I like – McGregor loss vs Nurmagomedov.
So in finding my pick, I have tapped into all four of my indicators, and I still am not confident about whether I will get this one or not.
- Eye test – Ferguson.
- Gut – Ferguson.
- Head – Cerrone.
- Who I like – I like both fighters, and their stories appeal to me. That said I would like to see Ferguson win and face Nurmagomedov (who I hope beats Porier).
My pick for UFC 238’s main event
In an equally storied fight that sees Cejudo try to unify two division titles after breaking the longest title defence in UFC history and beating TJ Dillishaw in the first round, come up against Maraes who is the #1 contender in the bantamweight division and a very very good fighter with some notable scalps.
I say Cejudo unifies the titles via submission and gets to be the talk of the UFC.
I really can’t wait for UFC 238 in three days time, I feel so spoilt in 2019.
Picks by Philani.