UFC Ottawa: Iaquinta vs Cerrone Preview
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Saturday, May 4, 2019
The UFC returns to Canada tonight with an exiting card featuring Canadian Elias Theodorou in the co-main event, where he’ll take on Derek Brunson and a lightweight main-event between Donald Cerrone and Al Iaquinta. Cerrone and Iaquinta are two of the most exciting fighters in a stacked lightweight division.
The 36-year-old Cerrone currently holds three-records in the UFC; he has the most wins in UFC history (22), most finishes (16), and most post-fight bonuses (16), and will look to add another to each of those categories when he takes on Iaquinta.
The lightweight main-event is significant because the division seems to be back on track now that Dustin Poirier became the interim-champion and reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is almost done serving his suspension for his role in the brawl that took place following his victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 229.
Both Cerrone and Iaquinta have remained active and have made the most of the opportunities they’ve been given the past year. Cerrone is currently on a two-fight winning streak that has seen him dominate his competition and look like a refocused fighter.
During the UFC’s first ESPN card in January, Cerrone defeated Alexander Hernandez, an up-and-coming fighter that was determined to make a name for himself at the expense of the UFC veteran. The fight was one-sided in Cerrone’s favor and showed that he was far from done competing and made a strong case for why he should still be in the mix at 155lbs.
Iaquinta’s rise to the top of the division has taken a different path. The former Ultimate Fighter runner-up went through a contract dispute with the promotion, that saw him take a two-year hiatus from competing, before returning in 2017.
After successfully defeating Diego Sanchez in his return fight, Iaquinta took full advantage of the opportunity to challenge Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 for a chance to become the new UFC Lightweight Champion, after Tony Ferguson was pulled due to injury and then Featherweight Champion Max Holloway was removed for concerns that he wouldn’t be able to safely cut weight to make the 155lbs limit.
As a result, Iaquinta went the distance with the undefeated Nurmagomedov and proved that he can not only compete with the best fighters in the lightweight division, but he showed why he should be considered among the best in the division.
Iaquinta returned to the win column when he defeated Kevin Lee by unanimous decision at UFC Milwaukee back in December, where he was also awarded with a Performance of the Night bonus. This was the second time Iaquinta had defeated Lee and showed that the first fight was no fluke.
Iaquinta vs Cerrone will surely be an entertaining main event for those in attendance at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.
Photo Credit: UFC