One of the biggest allures of mixed martial arts is that great fights of closely aligned athletes occur on every card. When looking at UFC 167 there are a number of contests that can catch a fans eye beyond just the main event of the evening. The lightweight tilt between Donald Cerrone and Evan Dunham that is a planned preliminary matchup has all the makings of a fight that can steal the show if both combatants go at things the way they have in the past.
Donald Cerrone and Evan Dunham are two individuals who have waded just outside of the top ten for years. Most recently Cerrone was making a push to be considered within the top five of the division but recent losses have pushed him back down the ladder, while Dunham is still working to regain the moment he lost back in 2011.
These two combatants have very similar records since being employed by Zuffa. They have a combined 14-7 win-loss record that includes a four fight win streak on both resumes. However, they have both lost some recent battles to up and coming lightweights in the form of Rafael dos Anjos and T.J. Grant that have pushed their names on the back burner when it comes to the 155 division; a group that is one of the most talent rich within the entire sport.
Fight Metric points towards a number of metrics that shows how these fighters are compared to one another. When comparing these two individuals in preparation for the matchup, there are a number of similarities that stand out to make this fight intriguing.
According to their numbers, Dunham is the more active fighter as he lands more strikes in the course of a fight. His average fight time is also two minutes longer than that of Cerrone’s but these numbers are based on fifteen minute fight times. While Dunham has landed more strikes during his UFC career, Cerrone is more accurate with the his ability to score with his attempts. The biggest point of interest is Dunham’s ability to defend strikes better than Cerrone. Nate Diaz was able to pick apart Donald over the course of their matchup and showed how the ability to pressure Cerrone could cause him trouble. Dunham has shown the ability to do the same thing as examples of his striking pressure strategy were on display against Sean Sherk, Shamar Bailey and Nik Lentz.
This will make it captivating to see what type of strategy Cerrone will employ in this matchup. He holds a 3 inch reach advantage in this fight, but he has shown the ability to score takedowns in the past. Dunham has incorporated multiple takedown attempts into his game plan throughout his UFC career and doing so again would benefit him against Donald. However, once there that doesn’t mean Evan will be in complete control. Cerrone will put Dunham’s submission defense to the test, because even though he is known as an aggressive striker he puts more guys away via submission than any other form.
Staying on the outside to pepper Dunham with strikes should be Cerrone’s strategy coming into this bout. That goes against his penchant to mix things up but “Cowboy” is a smart fighter who knows that he needs a win to close out 2013. Evan has a been able to mix up his fights to the point where fights get very close on the judges scorecards. One should expect multiple standup exchanges to go along with Dunham mixing in takedown attempts. This is going to be a very close fight to call but has a strong opportunity to be an action packed showcase of two complete mixed martial artists in the Octagon.
Evan Dunham versus Donald Cerrone is one of many key fights that are set for Saturday’s UFC 167 card. Two lightweights that are in dire need for a big win should bring a highly enjoyable fight for fans to enjoy and is a front runner for Fight of the Night.