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UFC Austin: Donald Cerrone vs. Yancy Medeiros Toe-to-Toe Preview - A complete breakdown

Phil and David break down everything you need to know about Cerrone vs. Medeiros in Austin, and everything you don’t about Scotch waterboarding.

UFC 206: Cerrone v Brown Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Donald Cerrone vs. Yancy Medeiros headlines UFC Fight Night: Austin this February 18, 2018 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

One sentence summary

David: Rocky-offense versus Rocky-defense.

Phil: It’s all offense-no defense vs all offense-some defense in a theoretical layup fight, buut....


Record: Donald Cerrone 32-10-1 NC Yancy Medeiros 15-4-1 NC

Odds: Donald Cerrone -150 Yancy Medeiros +130

History / Introduction to both fighters

David: Despite the three losses over his last three, Cerrone is still Cerrone. His presence in the division still feels like that rough stretch where he lost to Rafael dos Anjos, Anthony Pettis, and Nate Diaz between 2012 and 2013. Basically, he’s still the exact same tough hombre; even with two TKO losses during his recent stretch, his fight age might be showing, but so are his skills. The Lawler fight was and is an incredible performance in a lot of ways. This fight should be his reprieve. If it isn’t, then his fight will be showing.

Phil: There isn’t much else we can say about Donald Cerrone. Beer swilling extreme sports enthusiast, the man whose professionalism actually seems to go up when he has to step in on short notice. In many ways he’s one of the best MMA fighters to ever do it. In others he’s a classic gatekeeper. His MO has always been that just when you thought he was done, he’d come back for another crazy run. At some point he won’t come back.

David: Medeiros began his UFC career without a win through his first three bouts (thanks to ridiculous marijuana drug rules). Since then he’s been a stout lightweight presence, and now he’s probably where he belongs—at welterweight. I’m still not sure what to really make of him—he’s a very good offensive fighter with some pretty silly defense (at times), and the mixed results more or less confirm my suspicion that he’s a little better than CB Dolloway good. Beating Cerrone would be a solid step towards dispelling this notion. I remain a little skeptical.

Phil: Medeiros is someone who has managed to establish himself as a serious presence in the division without actually looking much better? He reached a technical apex when he had a competitive fight with John Makdessi, and since then it kind of feels like he’s been living on better durability for the weight class and pure toughness.

What’s at stake?

David: I don’t know, to be perfectly honest. If Cerrone wins, he’s still 1-3 in his last four. If Medeiros wins, then Medeiros wins. Dana and the UFC won’t exactly be paying for bond to get him back in the cage to challenge Woodley. I could be wrong. Medeiros could somersault knockout Cerrone, in which case, the universe behaves in ways I never thought were possible.

Phil: It’s an action fight, made because people will tune in and because it’ll be guaranteed to be fun no matter what. There’s a massive amount of lightweights that could be thrown at the winner. What’s mainly at stake is that this would be the worst loss of Cerrone’s career, by some measure, and would cap a four fight loss streak. That seems almost unthinkable, but also the only way that things were likely to go for him in the end.

Where do they want it?

David: Cerrone’s lack of wins are more closely tied with his competition. Masvidal was a tough matchup for him, and Till was even worse. Lawler was somewhere in the middle. Through it all, Cerrone has looked good—even improved in many ways—while just never getting the desired results. I enjoyed the hell out of the tactical exchanges he had with Lawler, using his elbows and typical Cerrone techniques to adjust after Lawler made an uncharacteristic move to just blitz the guy. With a much more versatile boxing game blossoming from his new coaches, and move in weight, Cerrone is now very much a triple threat; he can punch with authority, clinch with menace, and grapple with thoughtfulness. Against Medeiros his ability to land at range and transition for proximity elbows and knees will me be a major factor in his theoretical success. Unless Medeiros catches Cerrone with a hot one to the liver, this fight reads as really one-sided actually.

Phil: Cerrone is someone who either wants to be hanging out at range and throwing kicks, or dealing with someone who blitzes in on him. An opponent who hangs out at mid-range is not and has never been a fun matchup for him. Outside of that defined range, however, he’s a deep and dangerous repository of fight-ending tricks and battle-scarred experience. Stay at long range and get carved up by leg, body and head kicks. Close in and risk his counter left hook, step knee and takedown. It’s a game which is pretty difficult to get around.

David: Medeiros has a pretty funky style, made funkier by the fact that he’s mostly a one-handed fighter. Without real significant power in his right hand, he’s constantly looking to pound the straight left, arc a left, throw a left hook, and so forth. He’s actually a lot like a left-handed Cerrone in some ways; dynamic offense, able to execute at range and in close, and underrated on the ground. Unlike Cerrone, his sense of defense and strategy have never been on the menu except during the lunch special. Medeiros will bomb the left hand, barrage in close, and can play a fairly calculated game with front kicks and stance switches that sometimes pay dividends (as they did against Yves Edwards) and sometimes don’t (as they didn’t against Dustin Poirier).

Phil: Medeiros is one of the purest examples of a fighter whose defense is his offense. He’s improved from his earlier career, but more in terms of punching mechanics than any wider defensive capability. Even at welterweight, he remains a rangy hitter, and can play a solid offensive game with that aforementioned jab and hook switchup, as well as being a capable kicker. If the opponent manages to get past his lead hand, he is defensively abysmal. His head stays on the center line, and his instincts under pressure are normally to back straight up or swing. It’s led to a lot of damage. On the other hand, he deals out that damage himself exceptionally well, and has some serious durability at welterweight.

Insight from past fights

David: A lot of offensively dangerous strikers have put a hurting on Medeiros, who enters and endures exchanges like a baby giraffe being waterboarded with Scotch. Poirier, Miller, and Oliveira absolutely dusted him with clean, predictable punches he seem incapable of avoiding. Granted, he survived Oliveira’s onslaught, but only technically; toughness and sheer will got him through that fight. The issue is that Medeiros tends hook slowly with his lead punches—the end result is him getting pelted with alarming regularity. I have a hard time imagining Cerrone being unable to catch him, Medeiros being unable to stumble in response, and Cerrone being unable to finish him with a follow-up blitz. Play devil’s advocate bro!

Phil: Medeiros can fight as a southpaw? Yeah, I’m not really sure of the narrative that really says that Medeiros wins this one apart from the sheer durability argument (which is totally valid!). He seems unable to capitalize on Cerrone’s slow starting because he’s at least as slow out of the gate as Cowboy is, and the other cowboy landed a metric ton of kicking offense on him.


David: Cerrone’s fight age. Even though I think he’s looked good even in his losses, I do wonder if these TKO’s have been aided by standard issue cagefighting senescence. Even if it’s real, I don’t expect it to play a factor—the stylistic ticks, tricks, and terror are lopsidedly in Cerrone’s favor—except where Cerrone’s belly is concerned.

Phil: Yeah, it’s the only one really. The fight with Lawler was great, but given how bad Lawler looked both before and since, it’s feasible that it was just a perfectly timed fight between two declining legends. Masvidal and Till are not (despite what Till says) devastating finishers. That they bopped Cowboy is more than a little worrying.


David: Cerrone has never been the best range puncher, so maybe I’m too critical of Medeiros here, but then Medeiros himself isn’t dynamic enough at range to avoid being caught in the eventual storm. His defense is pure swiss cheese and I don’t consider him dangerous enough (not to be confused with being a solid finisher, which he is) to offset the problems he’ll have once Cerrone starts crowding him. Donald Cerrone by TKO, round 1.

Phil: Like I said at the top, this is a “Cerrone all the way but...” fight. There’s no way Yancy Medeiros should beat Cowboy Cerrone. He’s more hittable, starts slower, and has both less depth and breadth to his game. He’s also young and hasn’t taken a career of ass-whoopings, RV injuries and short-notice call-ups. I hope that’s not enough to make this kind of difference. I have a sneaking suspicion that this time, it does. Still, I’m not one for suspicions. Donald Cerrone by unanimous decision.

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