PREVIEW: Alexander Hernandez vs Donald Cerrone
Featured Image Credit: Ground Game - Facebook
The UFC is BACK for another year and it is back on a new platform, ESPN+ as part of the new ESPN deal that has recently begun officially. To kick off 2019, the UFC heads to Brooklyn where Henry Cejudo will square off against TJ Dillashaw in the Barclays Center for the 125 lb. strap. The prelim main event, however, is nearly as exciting, as Alexander “The Great” Hernandez squares off against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in Cerrone’s return to Lightweight.
Donald Cerrone is truly a cowboy. He does wild stuff all the time, from deep sea diving to motorcycle riding and a whole lot more on his ranch. He also does wild things within the confines of the UFC octagon. He has the most wins as well as the most finishes in UFC history with 21 and 15, respectively. He has an extremely well-versed game, with world-class jiu jitsu to combine with top flight kickboxing and Muay Thai. He also loves a good brawl. Cerrone is truly one of the greats this sport has seen, and he has been rewarded by being a fan favorite for much of his career. There is no doubt in my mind when he goes into that octagon on Saturday night that he will receive the biggest pop from the audience. To win against Hernandez, he needs to put together a solid gameplan to neutralize the high-energy Hernandez. Part of that plan must include takedown defense, as Hernandez landed 8 takedowns successfully against OAM, one of the better grapplers in the division. If he does get taken down, however, Cerrone may look to use his elite Jiu Jitsu to secure a slick sub on the perhaps green Hernandez. On the feet, he just needs to look for his combinations and stay in his head. Cerrone has extremely high fight IQ, so I am sure that he will be ready to rock and roll on the UFC’s ESPN maiden voyage.
Alexander Hernandez has only fought in the UFC twice, but he is ranked #11 in the Lightweight rankings. This is no mere coincidence. His debut was a short-notice replacement fight against Beneil Dariush, a fight where he won via 1st round KO. Then, he followed that up with a DOMINANT performance over the “Canadian Gangster” Olivier Aubin-Mercier, outclassing him in every aspect of the fight. Although Cerrone has been out of the division for a couple of years now, everybody knows that he is a top contender in this division, so there is still a lot to prove for Hernandez, who is looking for a signature name to add to his resume moving forward. To do this, he needs to keep the pressure high and force Cowboy to fight his way. He threw 274 strikes against OAM, landing 172 of them. That is a lot of volume in a 3 round fight. It could be enough to overwhelm an aging Cerrone. Along with that, it must not be disregarded that Cerrone has had significant problems when opponents attack his body early. It seems to be a legitimate weakness, so look for Hernandez to try to exploit that by either closing the distance and using punishing body punches or landing kicks at range. Hernandez is hungry to show the division that he is more than a prospect, and Donald Cerrone presents the perfect opportunity to do so this Saturday night.
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