Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone gave his first son the middle name Danger. Since his birth less than a year ago, the 36-year-old veteran has looked more dangerous than ever in three dominant performances. After each of those wins, Dacson Danger Cerrone has been handed over to his father inside the Octagon to be in his arms while his hand was raised.
Cerrone dusted “Raging” Al Iaquinta by unanimous decision (49-45, 49-46, 49-45) in Saturday’s main event at UFC Ottawa. MajorWager.com scored it 49-45 in favor of Cerrone, who is 10-1 in past 11 fights contested in the 155-pound division.
“I guess the dad Cerrone is 3-0 now, so I’m on a new mission. I’ve got to build this boy a swimming pool,” Cerrone told ESPN’s Michael Bisping during his post-fight interview conducted in the Octagon.
Cerrone added, “I want the title, whatever that means, unless, Conor McGregor, you want to fight me in July, I’m ready. Fourth of July, let’s do it.”
The UFC 239 show on July 6 already has a pair of title fights on it so, barring injury, they won’t be fighting then. Remember, the reason a Cerrone-McGregor fight fell apart earlier this year was because McGregor balked at not fighting in the main event. However, UFC 240 on July 7 doesn’t have a headliner yet.
Cerrone-Iaquinta garnered Fight of the Night honors, giving each fighter an extra $50,000. It was Cerrone’s fourth fight-night bonus in his past three fights.
After the first two rounds were split on MajorWager’s scorecard, Cerrone took control in the third stanza. Iaquinta’s front leg had already been battered by a plethora of kicks, causing him to switch stances. The Long Islander had a busted nose and a cut under his right eye from eating a slew of jabs from Cerrone, who had a three-inch reach advantage.
When a front kick pierced through Iaquinta’s guard in the fourth, it landed on his chin and dropped him for the first time in his career. Cerrone pounced on his opponent looking for the finish, but Iaquinta slithered away and back to his feet. Iaquinta kept pressing forward and remained competitive, but Cerrone was in a great rhythm of mixing up his kicks and jabs. He would end up landing a career-best 138 significant strikes.
Even into the fifth round while his face was covered in blood, Iaquinta was still generating offense. He would land 90 significant strikes in the scrap. A wild sequence capped the thrilling headliner, as both men swung for the fences in the final 30 seconds. Iaquinta ducked under a flying-knee attempt from Cerrone, only to lose his balance and fall on his back. Cerrone lunged toward his downed foe and landed a huge right hand just before the bell sounded.
If we discount a pair of setbacks to Rafael dos Anjos, who is now a contender in the welterweight loop, Cerrone has won 11 fights in a row in the lightweight division. The last time he tasted defeat to a lightweight not named RDA, it was against Anthony “Showtime” Pettis on Jan. 26 of 2013.
Cerrone won as an even-money underdog and ‘over’ 3.5 rounds was also a winner. He remains the UFC’s all-time leader in career wins (23), finishes (16), post-fight bonuses (17) and knockdowns (20).
If “Cowboy” isn’t going to be next for McGregor, then it’s most likely going to be Nate Diaz to complete their trilogy or Justin Gaethje. “Cowboy” vs. Gaethje is another potential fight that would certainly move the needle as a Fight Night headliner or pay-per-view co-main event.
Iaquinta entered the Cerrone fight ranked fourth in the lightweight division. He’ll drop significantly and a bout with Edson Barboza next seems to make the most sense for both men.
In the co-main slot Saturday night, Derek Brunson bested Elias Theodorou by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28) in a pick ‘em matchup. MajorWager had it 30-27 for Brunson and is baffled at how any judge gave Theodorou the nod in any round.
Theodorou did what he always does in the Octagon. He circled away from his opponent if he wasn’t literally running from him across the cage. Theodorou threw wild kicks from crazy angles and at distance that constantly missed their mark. Brunson scored a takedown midway through Round 1 but couldn’t quite finish multiple submission attempts after taking Thedorou’s back.
Brunson executed a big slam later in the fight and got the best of most of the striking exchanges. He avoided a three-fight losing streak with the victory.
In a featherweight scrap, Shane Burgos won a split decision over Cub Swanson (30-27, 27-30, 29-28). MajorWager scored it 29-28 for Burgos, who improve to 12-1 overall and 5-1 in the UFC. The 35-year-old Swanson has lost four consecutive fights.
Walt Harris earned a Performance of the Night bonus thanks to his 50-second knockout over UFC newcomer Serghei Spivac, who took his first career loss. During his post-fight interview, Harris pleaded for a spot on the UFC 242 card on Sept. 7 in Abu Dhabi against Justin Willis.
Harris and Macy Chiasson had the only finishes on the entire card. Chiasson also brought home an extra 50K after scoring a second-round knockout of Sarah Moras.
Merab Dvailishvili downed previously-undefeated Brad Katon by unanimous decision (30-27 across) as a -160 “chalk.” Another winner on the main card was Andrew Sanchez, who defeated UFC newcomer Marc Andre Barriault via unanimous decision (29-28 across) as a -175 favorite.
**B.E.’s Bonus Octagon Nuggets**
— The UFC 242 card is expected to be headlined by lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim lightweight champ Dustin Poirier. BetOnline has Nurmagomedov installed as a -275 favorite, leaving Poirier as the +235 underdog.
— The Octagon will be in Rio, Brazil, for UFC 237 this Saturday. The card will be headlined by “Thug” Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade. Namajunas is defending her women’s strawweight strap for the second time. The Brazilian, Andrade, is a -130 favorite at most spots with the champ an even-money underdog.
— UFC strawweight contender Felice Herrig is out indefinitely with a torn ACL. She was forced to pull out of her scheduled UFC 238 bout against Yan Xiaonan in her hometown of Chicago.
— The UFC is coming to the state of South Carolina for the first time this summer. UFC Greenville will be headlined by Renato Moicano vs. Chan Sung “The Korean Zombie” Jung on June 22 at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.