Every time people write off Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, the UFC fan favourite always seems to produce something – and he did it again on Saturday night.
His opponent Al Iaquinta seemed like the smart play. He was younger, he’d recently gone the distance with the best lightweight on the planet – and did pretty damn well, given he’d stepped in on just one day’s notice.
But ‘Cowboy’ isn’t interested in form, or odds. He showed up, showed out and dominated Iaquinta across their five-round main event to claim a unanimous decision victory with scores of 49-45, 49-45, 49-46.
“Not bad for a day-drinking don,” he laughed. “I guess I’m doing it for all the old people out there.”
Then he gave the UFC the ultimate post-fight demand. He either wants a title shot or he wants Conor McGregor.
“I want the title, whatever that means,” he declared.
“Unless, Conor McGregor, you want to fight me in July. I’m ready. Fourth of July. Let’s do it.”
Now, there are a few issues with that callout. For starters, July 4 is a Thursday. It’s highly unlikely the UFC would put on an event on a Thursday, and absolutely impossible to think they’d put on a McGregor fight on a school night. So, that’s not going to happen.
However, UFC 239 is taking place on July 6. That COULD work. It was thought to be the original date for a potential Cerrone-McGregor clash when the pair were linked a couple of months back, so why not?
Will it happen? Who knows? But there’s no denying Cerrone is on a roll these days, and who wouldn’t love to see him and ‘The Notorious’ face off?
The event as a whole was something of a marathon for fans on this side of the pond, with nine of the 12 fights going to the scorecards.
Derek Brunson, Shane Burgos, Merab Dvalishvili and Andrew Sanchez all picked up main-card decision victories on a night where spectacular finishes were at a premium.
The only stoppage on the main card came in the heavyweight bout between Walt Harris and Serghei Spivac, while Macy Chiasson (TKO) and Matt Sayles (armbar) managed to get their work done inside the distance.
Other than that, it was a long night for the judges – and for us…
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) May 4, 2019
Bellator saves the day
While the UFC fight card in Canada may have been slow and steady, the action in England at Bellator Birmingham thankfully offered some highlight-reel moments earlier in the night.
ALL FOUR main card bouts finished in the very first round, with a trio of eye-catching finishes – and one of them will likely finish 2019 as the MMA knockout of the year.
The main event saw former lightweight champ Brent Primus stun Brit Tim Wilde via a rarely-seen gogoplata submission in just 80 seconds, but the talk of the night came from two stunning knockouts.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) May 4, 2019
‘The Assassin’ punishes Neto
Now, I’m not a professional fighter, but I’ve always held the strong belief that if someone catches you cleanly in a fight, you’re probably best advised to make some adjustments to avoid it happening again.
But Falco Neto wasn’t having any of that, so he carried on his merry way, and got knocked out clean by Fabian Edwards as a result.
The Portuguese fighter had been clocked with a solid up-kick from Edwards, who was lying on his back at the time. But, rather than moving away from danger, Neto stepped into range again and received TWO MORE powerful up-kicks to the face for his trouble.
They sent him staggering backwards, and Edwards, who goes by the moniker of ‘The Assassin’ leapt to his feet and knocked his man out in devastating fashion, seemingly while laughing at his opponent’s stupidity.
And after the fight, he laughed about his opponent’s decision not to step out of range after the first up-kick, saying: “I thought, f**k it, you can have two more!”
He did what? 😧 (via @BellatorMMA)
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 4, 2019
Daniels produces the magic
But despite the wow factor of Edwards’s incredible finish, it was trumped by one of the most incredible knockouts you’ll see this year.
Step forward, Raymond Daniels, who finished Wilker Barros at the end of the first round with the sort of move you’d only see in a video game.
If that’s not a ‘send to your mates’ KO, then I don’t know what is.
* All odds correct at time of posting.