Cyrille "The Snake" Diabate's only losses in his last thirteen outings are to former UFC champ and legend Mauricio Rua in Pride (which he accepted with two weeks of notice) and Swedish marauder Alexander Gustafsson. The latter was betwixt rousing victories over Luiz Cane and Steve Cantwell in his three-piece UFC stint.
Anthony Perosh first appeared in the Octagon with consecutive defeats to Jeff Monson and Christian Wellisch circa 2006, but stepped in to face heavyweight Mirko Filipovic just two days before UFC 110. Despite the second round elbow that sparked his TKO demise, Perosh was rewarded with a four-fight contract for his valiant efforts, the first of which resulted in a rear-naked choke of Tom Blackledge at UFC 127.
Perosh has finished all of his eleven career victories, eight by submission and three by TKO. The two fighters to best him when he was away from the Octagon are the heavy-handed James Te Huna and K-1 kickboxer and Sengoku 205er Moise Rimbon.
Gifs and analysis in the full entry.
Statistically, Diabate's height (6'6") tops out the UFC's 205-pound roster and his reach measurement (81") is second only to the cartoonish proportions of Jon Jones.
His resplendent Thai background is drastically enhanced by his unique stature, making for a nightmare clinch game and extended length on every ill-intended punch and kick.
He brings the whole enchilada of standing tricks; his only flaw is having lax defense, stemming from either his familiarity in competing with bigger gloves and being able to shake punches off, or just being too focused on his own offense.
Though he's much too hittable, his chin and ability to recover are strong.
The thrashing combination to the left was delivered after Cane had floored him with a straight left, and it took three different occasions of cleanly landed power punches spread out over two rounds for Gustafsson to put him away, and he did so with a choke.
He's made exemplary strides in improving his ground and submission acumen, adding five catches to his stoppages along with eight TKOs.
While not much of a wrestler, his sprawl is on point.
His height and length converts to considerable leverage when he has his base underneath him.
To the right, he stuffs a Cantwell takedown attempt and spears a long knee on the way back up.
Keeping the heat on, Diabate plunges a clean left hand to the sternum to drop Cantwell. By the third round of that encounter, Diabate was teeing off at will and the performance was dominant despite no finish.
The type of fighter to unhinge him is either a takedown and control specialist or the rare few who can match him standing.
Perosh, who has finished every one of his career victories (8 subs, 3 TKOs), will have a huge advantage on the canvas.
Being one of the taller light-heavies at 6'3" will also help to equalize Diabate's size.
Where I foresee problems for Perosh is in his takedown approach and the way he closes range.
He's more of a clinch-grinder than a traditional wrestler. Perosh is strong, game and extremely persistent, but isn't the most agile cat on the block.
He's shown tremendous heart, durability and can take some serious punishment.
However, with the core competency of both men being quite obvious, I don't think Perosh has the footwork or explosion to catch Diabate off guard, and I see him eating a series of straight, stretched out jabs while Diabate circles away.
While out-matched, Diabate has brought his ground game along well enough to survive short spurts of Perosh's black belt level ground assault and is slippery to keep there.
The Australian's pride and spirit always leave him as a threat to turn the tables at any time, and if he does that here I envision it being in the third when Diabate starts to slow his furious pace after hitting the Aussie with everything in the tool box. Diabate's defensive clinching is more of a danger zone than his habit of taking punches, and his height could work against him if Perosh can get a low base to generate leverage, perhaps by pinning him upright against the fence.
"The Snake" brings a truly elite level of kickboxing and has learned to apply his reach well, which should allow him to land frequently and reward him with a hard-earned stoppage or lopsided decision.
My Prediction: Cyrille Diabate by TKO
All gifs via Zombie Prophet of IronForgesIron.com