UFN 151: Iaquinta vs Cerrone- Who is Next for Cowboy?

UFN 151: Iaquinta vs Cerrone- Who is Next for Cowboy?

With his third win in a row and fourth over his last 5-fights, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has once again inserted himself into the Lightweight title conversation. A 5-4 run at Welterweight that ended on a 1-4 skid has given way to Cerrone’s resurgence as a 155er- where he challenged for the title in late 2015.

His 66-second TKO loss to Rafael Dos Anjos appeared to end the UFC title aspiration of the WEC alumni. That appears not to be the case as his dominant dismantling of Al Iaquinta has surely positioned the Denver native as a viable title challenger.

While Cerrone is 3-0 during his current Lightweight run, he still may need to fight again before his name is tagged as the next title contender. With the current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov tied to a fight with deserved challenger and interim-champion Dustin Poirier- let’s take a look at potential options for Cerrone’s next walk to the cage.

Anthony Pettis

“Showtime” Pettis and Cerrone never crossed paths in their WEC tenure, but finally squared off in early 2013. Pettis won the fight with a vicious body kick TKO and went on to win the Lightweight strap in his next fight. While Anthony is currently residing in the Welterweight division, this is the type of fight that could pique his interest.

While no fighter on this list is an easy out, Pettis might prove to be the best option for Cerrone to build his title contender resume without risking his spot in line.

Justin Gaethje

The former WSOF Champion, Gaethje has rebuilt his momentum with a pair of violent knockouts of James Vick and Edson Barboza. With both Cerrone and Justin offering fan-friendly fighting styles, the buildup for this pairing would be an easy sell. Neither fighter is quite in line for a title shot just yet, but a victory over the other could be just enough to warrant the next step.

Of the four options for “Cowboy”, this fight seems the most likely with the other three fighters all inhibited by some outside factor.

Tony Ferguson

Ferguson was the interim-Champion and never lost the title. Unfortunately, injuries and other circumstances have limited the activity of the TUF 13 victor. If he is able to get passed his personal issues and return to action, a fighter between Ferguson and Cerrone would surely draw has a PPV headliner. Ferguson’s unrelenting pressure would be a difficult, but still manageable test for Cerrone.

Ferguson certainly could lay claim to a title fight without stepping in the cage, but similar to Donald his “anyone, anywhere” mentality could make this fight a reality.

Conor MacGregor

I almost left the former Champ-Champ off the list simply based on his lack of commitment to the sport. Regardless, his name still draws and paired with Cerrone, we are sure to garner the MMA worlds attention. Either verbally or online, both fighters have mentioned one and other and the interest they have in a potential matchup. At this point, it comes down to Conor’s willingness to compete. I struggle to believe that if the Irishman told White he was ready, that Dana wouldn’t put Cerrone and MacGregor together as soon as possible.

From a title contention perspective, it is a win-win. If Cerrone gets the nod, he could take on the winner of Eagle/Diamond. If Conor emerges with the win and opts to keep active, a rematch with either man is an easy sell.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned on the show, Donald Cerrone is one of the only sure-fire future Hall of Famers that has never won a UFC title. In fact, he is 0-4 in combined UFC/WEC title fights. The strap has simply eluded him. Michael Bisping was considered another potential HOFer as he entered the late stages of his career, but manged to make good on his title opportunity. Could “Cowboy” do the same?

My prediction night went well. I went 9-3, improving to 26-10 over the last 3 shows. My Bet Pack had solid returns with the Gold plays cashing in for the second straight show. My HBC Bets returned 70 units and my CBC bets paid out at 51 units with multiple Parlays falling just a leg short. You can see the entire pack below.

Kamikaze Overdrive Premium Bet Pack

Parlays & Single Bets

Depending on your betting style, you can select the Hardcore Betting Cluster which employs a betting strategy focussed on straight and 2-leg parlays that limit the risk and offer a decent return based on your financial commitment. If you are willing to take a little more risk and aren’t interested in putting as much cash in play, but still want a shot at a big return- then the Casual Betting Cluster is for you. Playing both of these strategies together is not recommended.

Hardcore Betting Cluster (HBC)

Gold Plays

BET #1
+ Derek Brunson  to WIN -110
ODDS: -110
BET: 10u
RETURN: 19.09u

 

BET #2
+ Walt Harris   to WIN -170
+ Arjan Bhullar   to WIN +110
ODDS: +234
BET: 7u
RETURN: 23.35u

Silver Plays

BET #1
+ Donald Cerrone   to WIN +100
ODDS: +100
BET: 5
RETURN: 10u

 

BET #2
+ Brad Katona   to WIN +162
ODDS: +162
BET: 4u
RETURN: 10.48

BET #3
+ Cub Swanson   to WIN +140
ODDS: +140
BET: 3u
RETURN: 7.2u

Bronze Plays

BET #1
+ Cole Smith   to WIN -110
+ Matt Sayles  to WIN -225
ODDS: +176
BET: 2u
RETURN: 5.52u

 

BET #2
+ Andrew Sanchez   to WIN -170
+ Aiemann Zahabi   to WIN -160
ODDS: +158
BET: 2u
RETURN: 5.16u

Wildcard Plays

BET #1
+ Donald Cerrone  to Win by Submission +400
ODDS: +400
BET: 3u
RETURN: 15u

 

BET #2
+ Derek Brunson  to Win by TKO/KO +265
+ Walt Harris  to Win by TKO/KO +110
ODDS: +667
BET: 3u
RETURN: 23u

BET #3
+ Macy Chiasson  to Win by TKO/KO +137
ODDS: +137
BET: 5u
RETURN: 11.85u

Casual Betting Cluster (CBC)

Gold Plays

BET #1
+ Walt Harris   to WIN -170
+ Arjan Bhullar   to WIN +110
+ Derek Brunson   to WIN -110
ODDS: +537
BET: 8u
RETURN: 50.94u

Silver Plays

BET #1
+ Brad Katona   to WIN +162
+ Cub Swanson   to WIN +140
+ Donald Cerrone   to WIN +100
ODDS: +1158
BET: 5u
RETURN: 62.88u

Bronze Plays

BET #1
+ Cole Smith   to WIN -110
+ Matt Sayles  to WIN -225
+ Andrew Sanchez  to WIN -170
+ Aiemann Zahabi  to WIN -160
ODDS: +612
BET: 3u
RETURN: 21.35u

Wildcard Plays

BET #1
+ Donald Cerrone  to Win by Submission +400
+ Derek Brunson  to WIN -110
ODDS: +855
BET: 4u
RETURN: 28.64u

BET #2
+ Derek Brunson  to Win by TKO/KO +265
+ Walt Harris  to Win by TKO/KO +110
+ Brad Katona  to WIN +162
ODDS: +1908
BET: 3u
RETURN: 60.25u

BET #3
+ Macy Chiasson  to Win by TKO/KO +137
+ Arjan Bhullar  to WIN +110
+ Aiemann Zahabi  to WIN -160
ODDS: +709
BET: 5u
RETURN: 40.44u

Draftkings Lineup

Lineup

+ Donald Cerrone $7800
+ Cub Swanson $7400
+ Macy Chiasson $9400
+ Derek Brunson $8200
+ Arjan Bhullar $7900
+ Walt Harris $8900

Spares

+ Cole Smith $7700
+
+
+

 

Betting Breakdowns

Al Iaquinta -125 vs Donald Cerrone +100

This line is almost even on most books, with a few leaning towards Al as the fav. I have yet to see Cowboy as the favourite anywhere, but that could change. The line has been pretty consistent as well, with limit movement. Cerrone simply has more tools to work with here. Al certainly has avenues to win- punching power and cardio at center of his attack. I see the intangible as the wrestling and submission game of Cerrone. If he gets in the spots that Lee was in, Al is in trouble. Iaquinta has had submission issues before. I feel my change to looking at the main event first was a good one. Much fresher and not nearly as rushed. Big fight. Silver play.

Draft-Kings-Logo

Cerrone is a finisher no matter where the fight goes. I see him subbing Al, but he could equally as much drop him during an exchange. He averages 81.8 FPPF which is a solid return for a sub $8000 price tag. If Donald wins, it will most likely be by stoppage. Add him.

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Derek Brunson -110 v Elias Theodorou -110

Brunson opened as a slight fav around -125 and he improved a little bit for us. I love this return. He is paying out well above where he should be. Elias’s style has worked at the lower level, but unless Derek goes balls to the wall and gasses hard, he should win this one walking away. Elias doesn’t have the power to back him down, the wrestling to grind him out, or the forward pressure to stop DB’s momentum. His only key advantage here is cardio. Brunson could get him out of there quickly. Gold Play for DB.

Draft-Kings-Logo

Brunson also gets the call on my fantasy team. He has stopped almost all of his UFC wins and should have a shot at adding to the total here as well. Elias got hurt by Anders, but survive. He got beat up by Thiago, but survived. Brunson is a shark. If he smells blood, he will finish. Add him for just $8200.

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Cub Swanson +140 vs Shane Burgos -170

Without looking at the line I had a feel for the type of movement we would see based on this scenario. I had Cub as the fav and he opened around -170 and has been bet down to the +125 to +140 range. That is what a 3-fight losing streak will do for you. The public assumes you are washed up. Maybe Cub is. But he has been losing to top-level talent and I don’t see Burgos there at all. Burgos has looked far from good of late. A knockout loss and getting dropped before snagging a sub over his last 2 fights. We are getting a solid return here. Silver Play on So Cal Cub.

Draft-Kings-Logo

Cub is very affordable at $7400. He has knockout power and as mentioned already Burgos defensive work and chin are less than stellar. If Cub gets his hand raised it is via brutal knockout or high volume decision win. Add him.

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Brad Katona +162 vs Merab Dvalishvili -188

We are sticking with the movement game here. Katona was an unreal -230 at the open and is now moved all the way the +150 to +165 depending on the books. What a swing. What has Dvalishvili done to deserve being a heavy fav? Terrion Ware, his only UFC win, is 0-4 in the Octagon. His game is a100% contingent on TDs and Katona has shown he can get up and has shown he will attack off his back. If he can have success on the feet coupled with Merab’s lack of top control production, this is the Canadian’s fight to win. I have Katona as a solid Silver play with a couple of other underdogs.

Draft-Kings-Logo

I don’t see Katona getting the finish. This could be a close fight with him doing enough to win and not scoring a lot of points. Pass.

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Walt Harris -170 vs Sergey Spivak +140

We are getting another debuting fighter coming in on short notice with a track record of quick finishes. As I already mentioned in my prediction, we also need to consider the regional HW factor. A lot of HWs are facing undersized competition on the regional scene. When they hit the UFC, they run into massive guys that are as big if not bigger than they are. That is what we see here. Spivak has tools if he gets in the right spot, but I like the development I have seen out of Harris. He isn’t quite as tasty as he was at -150, but he is a Gold play for me based on the recent success of this scenario.

Draft-Kings-Logo

Harris is also a proven finisher with a decent price tag. Heavies are usually north of $9000, so getting Walt at $8900 works for me. He has 4 fights over 95 points each. That is worth the price.

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Marc-Andre Barriault +140 vs Andrew Sanchez -170

I saw some good things out of Sanchez in his last fight. He showed improvements that can be related to his new camp. It is worth noting that a lot of fighters start showcasing the benefits of their move in their second fight with a new camp. They will have had time to develop. Barriault is an action fighter and could get a late stoppage like Sanchez has been vulnerable too. Sanchez was a slight dog a the open and I do understand that logic. I don’t quite agree with it. I feel we aren’t getting the best of it here. As a result, I am knocking him down to a Bronze play.

Draft-Kings-Logo

No Sanchez in my lineup. A grinding a decision with mixed levels of volume throughout. Not a fantasy player’s ideal scenario. Pass.

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Macy Chiasson -600 vs Sarah Moras +450

Yeah….we obviously can’t touch this one. Moras could snatch one here with her sub game if Chiasson makes a mistake. I will look at the prop options.

Draft-Kings-Logo

I do have Chiasson in my lineup. She brutalizes opponents and Moras’s poor gas tank is going to turn her into a punching bag. Macy gets her out of there in under 2 with a violent barrage of offense. Add her to your lineup.

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Aiemann Zahabi -160 vs Vince Morales +130

The line on Zahabi is coming down considerably. He has been out for a while and was viciously knocked out in his last fight. Morales is in a much better spot here as well. He gets a full camp after a respectable debut. This type of info drives the line in our favour. With AZ sitting somewhere north of -200 at the onset of the week. I think he has all the tools to win this fight with a calculated striking attack worked in cohesion with his grappling game. I like Morales, but he needs to fight letter-perfect here to win. AZ would be a Silver play on most card, but I have him in the Bronze section.

Draft-Kings-Logo

At $9000, AZ could get a finish with his hands or his ground skills, but the price is a little too steep for me. Pass.

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Nordine Taleb -400 vs Kyle Prepolec +300

I want nothing to do with this bout. Prepolec is coming in and we don’t know much about him. He was supposed to headline a Global Warriors event a couple of years ago in a rematch against Alex Ricci that I was designing posters for, but the Ontario Commission shut the show down. Either way Taleb hasn’t look good enough of late to consider this line, especially on this card.

Draft-Kings-Logo

I will pass here too.

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Kyle Nelson +187 vs Matt Sayles -225

I was very high on Sales when he came in and still am. That being said, I am not sure I want to commit much cash on this type of a line. We are not getting the best bet here considering where he opened. Nelson is no slouch and while I feel he is going to get second best, I am not all in on this play. At the most we get a Bronze play, at the least we walk away.

Draft-Kings-Logo

Nothing doing here.

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Arjan Bhullar +110 vs Juan Adams -138

I do like this line. Adams won his debut, but didn’t look that great against almost the bottom of the division. He got tired in a fight he was winning and only won because his opponent was more tired than he was. I expect him to struggle against a grinder if this bout doesn’t end early. Bhullar is a better wrestler, but more importantly, he knows how to use it as a weapon. Look for the Canadian to keep close to Adams early and as he fades, Bhullar will start to score takedowns and break him further. Gold play for the more experienced fighter.

Draft-Kings-Logo

Bhullar doesn’t have a lot of finishes, but if Adams gasses and is on his back Arjan has legit potential to finish him with GNP. He is also very affordable at $7900.

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Mitch Gagnon -110 vs Cole Smith -110

Another fight impacted by injury. We get 2 scenarios head to head. A long layoff for Gagnon versus a short notice debut for Smith. Cole is shifting to the favourite on some books, so get him while the price is right. Gagnon is the shorter man and is known for gassing out. If Cole gets off to a good start, this should be his fight. Still, lots of uncertainty. I will take a look at this one as a Bronze bet.

Draft-Kings-Logo

Smith will serve as a decent alternative. He is scrappy enough to finish a tired Gagnon in the later stages of the fight.

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Confidence List

1. Macy Chiasson -600

2. Arjan Bhullar +110

3. Walt Harris -170

4. Derek Brunson -110

5. Donald Cerrone +100

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6. Nordine Taleb -400

7. Matt Sayles -225

8. Brad Katona +162

9.  Cub Swanson +140

10. Aiemann Zahabi -160

11. Andrew Sanchez -170

12. Cole Smith -110

 

Value Bet List

1. Brad Katona +162

2. Arjan Bhullar +110

3. Cub Swanson +140

4. Derek Brunson -110

5. Donald Cerrone +100

 

Counter Bets

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

Betting Scenario

Scenario Breakdowns

The section will always be a work in progress, as I hopefully continue to find different scenarios that produce consistent winners. Click the names below to read each scenario’s explanation.

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EPU Candidate(s)

1. Arjan Bhullar to Win by Decision +225

As much as I think we could see Bhullar get a stoppage by wearing Adams out, I will take him on the cards. Arjan is a grinder and has been racking up decision wins both in and outside the UFC. He would be foolish to change his approach here. Adams is a big threat on the feet and Arjan will need to neutralize him in the clinch and on the floor.

2. Mitch Gagnon/Cole Smith

I will leave this one alone. I could see a finish or a grinding affair. Lots of unknown here. A good pass.

EPU
Under 1.5
Under 2.5
Over 2.5
Over x2
2014
42
46
46
11 of 46 Events
2015
28
35
42
10 of 39 Events
2016
28
38
41
11 of 41 Events
2017
27
40
35
8 of 38 Events
2018
26
35
30
8 of 33 Events
2019
8
11
12
3 of 12 Events
FP
W
L
Win %
2015 Picks
47242351%
2016 Picks
55312456%
2017 Picks
47202743%
2018 Picks
42251760%
2019 Picks
126650%

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FPO Candidate

1. Macy Chiasson to Win by TKO/KO +137

Chiasson blasted her last opponent early in the action and got her out of there. Moras has never been finished but her cardio is brutal and I can’t see her holding up against Macy once she starts unloading. Whether it comes early or late, Chiasson should be able to get her out of there. I didn’t expect to get plus money for this.

Final Prelim
FP
Over 2.5
Under 2.5
Over %
2014
46
30
16
65%
2015
36162044%
2016
39261367%
2017
3425974%
2018
33221167%
2019
115645%
FP
W
L
Win %
2015 Picks
29121741%
2016 Picks
35171849%
2017 Picks
29121741%
2018 Picks
31131842%
2019 Picks
82625%

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HEF Candidate(s)

1. Al Iaquinta -125 vs Donald Cerrone +100

2. Derek Brunson -110 v Elias Theodorou -110

3. Aiemann Zahabi -160 vs Vince Morales +130

4. Arjan Bhullar +110 vs Juan Adams -138

5. Mitch Gagnon -110 vs Cole Smith -110

HEFs
FP
W
L
WIN %
2015
177938453%
2016
21210610650%
2017
1791106961%
2018
1921009252%
2019
66293744%
FP
W
L
Win %
2015 Picks
178958353%
2016 Picks
21210810451%
2017 Picks
179879249%
2018 Picks
192959749%
2019 Picks
66303645%
 

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Prop Bets

Donald Cerrone to Win by Submission +400

The biggest issue I have had making a play like this with Cowboy is that he will often score a knockout before he can grab the sub. Either way. At this type of return, you can’t ignore the numbers. Cowboy has 17-wins by submission and Iaquinta has lost by sub in 3 of his 4 career defeats. Cerrone will use his wrestling to shortcircuit the striking of Al. If they are on the mat, the sub is not that far away.

Derek Brunson to Win by TKO/KO +265

Elias has never been stopped with strikes. Brunson hits very hard and should find a home for his power. He has recorded 11 wins by knockout including 6 in the UFC. It is worth the play here as I don’t feel Elias has enough to turn Brunson back once he starts unloading.

Walt Harris to Win by TKO/KO +110

Harris has finished all of his official wins by knockout, excluding the NC vs Arlovski. He should look to extend Spivak here, let him tire, and put him down. That being said, is Sergey pushes him early, Walt could be forced to engage with power and finish him then. I like the new HW to struggle in his first big UFC test.

Macy Chiasson/Sarah Moras

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Arjan Bhullar/Juan Adams

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Mitch Gagnon/Cole Smith

See the Betting Scenario Section.