Donald Cerrone became the first fighter to finish Patrick Cote with strikes Saturday night — and he made it look easy. In the highly anticipated co-main event of UFC Fight Night 89, which marked the UFC’s debut in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Cowboy stepped into Cote’s home-turf and still put on one of the best performances of his veteran career.
Cote, a former light heavyweight competitor and middleweight challenger, was the larger and more powerful fighter going into the matchup with Cerrone, who fought for the lightweight belt late last year. Despite the physical advantages for Cote, Cerrone lit the Canadian up on the feet and landed several takedowns, proving he was the more skilled fighter all around. That said, Cote didn’t give up easily. He showed off his toughness, heart and will once again Saturday night as he was knocked down twice before the knockdown that led to the third-round ground-and-pound stoppage.
What was the highlight of the fight?
Cerrone’s dominating standup was the highlight of the fight. One could have argued it would be all Cote (classic boxer) on the feet because of his power advantage, and that Cerrone (Muay Thai specialist)’s only chance was on the mat. The Jackson-Wink MMA product silences the critics as he picked apart Cote on the feet for two rounds en route to a third-round finish.
Where do these two go from here?
Cerrone is willing to fight either at welterweight or lightweight, but one could imagine not having to cut nearly as much weight felt pretty good. This win was arguably one of the best performances of his career, and I doubt that’s completely a coincidence, either. If Cerrone remains at welterweight, I think he should fight a top 15 fighter next. He may the smaller fighter against most ranked 170-pounders, but with his level of skill both on the feet and on the ground, I’d like to see how much that matters. On the other hand, if he drops back down to lightweight, there are a number of options for his next outing as a top five fighter in the division.
Cote was riding an impressive three-fight winning streak heading into Saturday’s bout but this was probably his last chance of cracking into the welterweight rankings. Cote likely receives a winnable fight next, possibly at UFC on FOX 21 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada later this summer, but I don’t see him beating any contenders in the near future, if ever.
Watch now, later, or never?
Cerrone vs. Cote was a very fun fight. It wasn’t exactly a back-and-forth fight, but the lightweight contender delivered a striking clinic (and some grappling), and you should check it out right away.