The momentum Donald Cerrone carried into his fifth fight in 2011, a UFC 141 co-main event against Nate Diaz, had most picking him to win a decision over one of Stockton’s finest. Nate Diaz showed up in Las Vegas with an upset on his mind though, and all but completely shut down the surging Cowboy throughout their three round tilt.
Much was made of the mind games played before the fight, over who was in whose head and how that would play into the fight. However that worked out, it resulted in an instant classic and one of Nate Diaz’s best performances yet.
Cerrone came out of the gates hot, charging at Diaz, who sidestepped, planted and engaged. From then on, there wouldn’t be a moment of pause in the fight. What surprised most, was Diaz’s uniquely efficient boxing style overcoming Cowboy’s varied kickboxing assault. In fact, the fight only played out on the mat when Cerrone would knock Diaz off balance with leg kicks and sweeps, which he did often – though still, it was Diaz who dominated the battle.
The younger of the fighting Diaz brothers walked through whatever knees and kicks Cerrone threw to back him up with a never-ending torrent of punches. Diaz outlanded Cerrone by a massive percentage, taking Cerrone’s steam with his draining, relentless assault. Of course, Cerrone never laid down. He always came back and fought, it just wasn’t enough to stop or really slow Diaz from boxing him up.
With two spectacular performances in a row, over Takanori Gomi and Donald Cerrone, Diaz appears to have hit his stride. At 26-years-old, Diaz only has room to grow, but he’s established himself as top-tier lightweight again in short order.
Donald Cerrone sees an impressive six-fight winning streak broken, his record now standing at 17-4. Cowboy is a proven competitor though, who should come back from this stronger and threatening as ever.