UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Till preview and predictions
The UFC takes a trip to Gdansk, Poland this Saturday for a card that’s somewhat low on star power, but has Donald Cerrone headlining and a lot of matchups that should be very competitive. The lack of star power and probable lack of viewership means that, as usually happens when the UFC puts together a “lesser card”, this is going to be an action-packed card that anybody who tunes in for will be glad they did. With all that said, here’s what I think of the action this weekend:
Felipe Arantes 3rd round submission over Josh Emmett
Aspen Ladd unanimous decision over Lina Lansberg
Warlley Alves 1st round submission over Salim Touhari
Andre Fili unanimous decision over Artem Lobov
Sam Alvey 2nd round KO over Ramazan Emeev
Damian Stasiak unanimous decision over Brian Kelleher
Adam Wieczorek 1st round KO over Anthony Hamilton
Marcin Held 2nd round submission over Nasrat Haqparast
Main Card Analysis:
Fight 1: Jonathan Wilson (7-2) vs Oskar Piechota (9-0-1) (Middleweight)
Wilson will be looking to rebound from back-to-back losses at light heavyweight here with a win in his first fight at middleweight. Piechota on the other hand, is looking to make a splash in his UFC debut in front of his home country fans. Wilson will be looking to keep this standing as he has struggled on the ground in his last two fights and has serious knockout power. While Piechota has some striking ability his easiest path to victory is to take the fight to the ground early and often. In the end, I believe Piechota gets this fight down and manages to finish a tired Wilson.
Pick: Piechota by 2nd round TKO
Fight 2: Devin Clark (8-1) vs. Jan Blachowicz (19-7) (Light Heavyweight)
This fight has a similar dynamic to the previous fight as Blachowicz wants this fight on the feet and Clark will be looking to take it to the mat. Blachowicz has struggled over the last couple of years as he has gone 1-4 in his last five fights, although three of those losses came against top tier fighters. His lone win also wasn't particularly inspiring nor was his loss to Patrick Cummins. However, Clark has looked fantastic since moving up to light heavyweight after losing his UFC debut at middleweight. Since moving up he has used his wrestling to dominate Josh Stansbury and Jake Collier. While Clark is a step down in competition for Blachowicz and Blachowicz is a step up for Clark, I think Clark has good enough striking to keep him safe until he can score a takedown. Once he gets the takedown it’s game over for Blachowicz as Clark will dominate from top position to take a lopsided decision.
Pick: Devin Clark by unanimous decision
Fight 3: Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-2) (Women’s Strawweight)
Karolina is a high-output, crisp striker with a dangerous clinch game whose have come to the best of the best at straw weight in her last 2 fights. Esquibel, on the other hand, hasn’t fought a particularly high level of opponents and hasn't been very convincing against the competition she has faced. She has decent striking and some takedowns, but she won’t be able to get Karolina to the ground. This fight was put together for Karolina to look good in her home country and it will succeed. If it stays standing Karolina will outwork Esquibel and pile up damage. If Esquibel shoots for takedowns she will get stuffed and have to deal with Karolina’s nasty clinch elbows. I just don't see a path for Esquibel and I think she will be on the receiving end of Karolina’s first stoppage win in the UFC after being punished throughout the fight.
Pick: Karolina Kowalkiewicz by 3rd round TKO
Main Event: Donald Cerrone (32-9 1 NC) vs Darren Till (15-0-1) (Welterweight)
At this point in his career, Donald Cerrone is a pretty well-known commodity. He loves to scrap, mixes in takedowns well, and struggles to deal with solid body shots. Cerrone is a top notch striker who throws vicious kicks and has only lost to the top fighters at 170 and 155, with most of the losses coming to former champions. Till is a rising prospect in the welterweight division who has used his incredible striking to amass a 3-0-1 record so far in the UFC. Till tends to hang back and wait to counter, and doesn't throw very much volume. He keeps a very tall stance and his chin stays high as he advances, but his head and foot movement have kept his chin safe to this point. Till didn’t appear to fatigue in a high paced fight against Bojan Velickovic, so this being a 5 round fight shouldn’t be a major factor. The key to this fight will likely be the leg kicks of Cerrone. Till’s lead leg was shown to be vulnerable to kicks in his last fight due to his wide stance and seeming disinterest in defending them. Ceronne will punish Till’s league leg early, making it harder for Till to plant his foot to land counters or defend takedowns. Once he’s taken out Till’s leg, Cerrone will pour it on with strikes, hurt Till on the feet, and eventually stop it on the ground whether it be by strikes or submission. Till looks like a fighter that will eventually be a contender in this division, but Cerrone is just too much too soon for him here.
Pick: Donald Cerrone by 4th round submission