The UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2 main card opens with a WEC vs. Strikeforce showdown. Former WEC top contender Donald Cerrone (20-5 MMA; 6-2 UFC) takes on former Strikeforce contender K.J. Noons (11-6 MMA; UFC Debut). This Lightweight fight is the first of five main card bouts. The UFC rankings have Cerrone as the #6 Lightweight contender, while Noons is unranked. UFC 160 is live on PPV this Saturday May 25, with the main card beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT.
For fans of the stand-up game, this provides an interesting stylistic battle. Chances are good this will be contested primarily on the feet where it will be Cerrone's Muay Thai vs. Noons's boxing. Both men have a lot of skill in their respective fields, and both have had success in MMA using their strikes. The question now is who can better implement his game against another talented striker?
How do these two stack up?
Cerrone: 30 years old | 6'0" | 73" reach
Noons: 30 years old | 5'11" | 70" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
"Cowboy" Donald Cerrone is a longtime Greg Jackson student who made his name in the WEC. He had great success transitioning to the UFC, winning 4 straight when he entered the Octagon. Since a 2011 loss to Nate Diaz, he's had a bit more trouble and is 2-2 in his last 4 and is coming off the big loss to Pettis. Cerrone is a very talented, exciting fighter, but it seems like he may be settling into his role as one of the Lightweight gatekeepers, and that's definitely the part he is playing here.
K.J. Noons is a former pro boxer who really made his name in EliteXC. There, he was the Lightweight champion, defeating Nick Diaz back in 2007 (Noons was the only man to defeat Diaz between his UFC runs). Unfortunately for Noons, he missed a tremendous amount of time after that win, fighting only once in a two and a half year stretch. He came back in 2010, fighting primarily for Strikeforce. There, he was a contender, but was unable to replicate his earlier success. He's just 1-4 in his last 5, though those losses do come against a tough level of opponent. He badly needs a win here if he wants to keep his new UFC career alive.
Why should you care?
Striking enthusiasts rejoice - this should be a good one!