#DonaldCerrone and #JorgeMasvidal are two of the UFC's most action-oriented fighters and they are finally throwing down. I couldn't be more excited to see these two bite down and try to take each other out. But they are more than mere brawlers. "Gamebred" and "Cowboy" both have excellent jiu-jitsu, underrated wrestling, and absolutely gorgeous striking technique.
The two lightweights-turned-welterweights will cross paths in the co-main event of UFC on FOX 23 this Saturday (January 28, 2017). Their scrap is the early favorite for Fight of the Night, and many view it as a possible Fight of the Year candidate. It's hard to argue otherwise, as both men are offensively potent and boast zero-effs-given attitudes. Before their fight Saturday, check out the highlight reels of these two fan-favorite knockout artists.
Jorge Masvidal vs. Joe Lauzon
Years before they made their names as elite lighweights in the UFC, #JoeLauzon crossed paths with Masvidal at Absolute Fighting Championships 12 in April 2005. The grappling specialist Lauzon repeatedly tried to take the fight to the floor, but was met with a massive - and apparently illegal - slam for his efforts. He would survive and have his moments, but Masvidal proved too much for the young Massachusetts native. "Gamebred" finished the fight with ground and pound in the second.
Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi
On a seven-fight winning streak at the time, Cerrone was expected to face Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 187 in May 2015, but "The Eagle" pulled out with an injury. In stepped Canadian kickboxer #JohnMakdessi. "Cowboy" proved to be on another level than the late replacement, battering him before breaking his jaw with his patented high kick in the second round. The ultra-tough Makdessi did not go out, but waved the fight off himself, knowing he was finished.
Masvidal vs. Yves Edwards
In July 2007, Masvidal faced off with another Octagon veteran in #YvesEdwards, a man who had a claim as the best lightweight in the world a few years earlier. They met at "Bodog Fight - Alvarez vs. Lee", and Masvidal showed that he belonged in that conversation as well. He also showed that he had a lethal head kick of his own.
Cerrone vs. Alex Oliveira
I got to see this one in person, and, boy, did Cerrone deliver. After failing to unseat then-lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, Cerrone moved up the scale to 170 pounds. His first test came against the Brazilian "Cowboy", #AlexOliveira. Oliveira, a relative newcomer to the big show, was riding a three-fight winning streak into the biggest fight of his career. Cerrone wiped out that momentum in under a round, reminding everyone that his ground game is just as venomous as his standup. He took down his powerful foe, cut through his guard, and locked in a top-side triangle choke before rolling to his back for the tap.
Masvidal vs. Ryan Schultz
In addition to fighting in nearly every major American promotion, Masvidal also fought in Japan under the Sengoku banner before catching on with Strikeforce and the UFC. There, as always, he fought big names and talented fighters. One such was Ryan Schultz, a globetrotting veteran like Masvidal himself. Once again, Jorge showed that he was more than just a striker, stuffing Schultz's takedowns and pounding him on the mat for the first-round victory.
Cerrone vs. Patrick Cote
After dispatching Oliveira, a man, like himself, best suited for a weight between 155 and 170 pounds, Cerrone would face the substantially stronger and more experienced #PatrickCote. A former middleweight title challenger known for his iron chin and brist-fisted punching power, Cote had never before been finished by strikes. Cerrone put an end to that. He showed off the improvements he had been making under the tutelage of #BrandonGibson, using his hands rather than his legs to put a beating on the durable Canadian.
Masvidal vs. Michael Chiesa
Masvidal entered the UFC after falling short in his bid to capture the Strikeforce lightweight title from #GilbertMelendez. In his second bout with the promotion, he squared off with undefeated recent "The Ultimate Fighter" winner #MichaelChiesa. The Miami native showed off his underrated grappling chops, choking Chiesa out, a man renowned for his own submission prowess.
Cerrone vs. Rick Story
Cerrone continued his tear at welterweight by blasting through Rick Story, another supremely tough fighter who had never before been knocked out. The combination with which Cerrone finished the fight was straight out of a video game, every strike landing flush. Instagram user rayrod747 immortalized the final salvo by turning Cerrone into a Super Saiyan from the popular #Dragonball series. The finish was stunning, and this clip is just plain cool.
Masvidal vs. Cezar Ferreira
Masvidal hasn't had the same insane finishing rate as Cerrone throughout his career, but his fight with Cezar Ferreira at 'The Ultimate Fighter' 21 Finale reminded everyone that "Gamebred" is dangerous in every phase. Pressed into the fence by his larger opponent, Masvidal created just enough space to unleash two hellacious elbows. The first buckled the Brazilian's knees, the second sent him crashing to the deck. Masvidal then showed off his killer instinct and hand speed, dribbling Ferreira's head off the canvas like a basketball.
Cerrone - Ultimate 8
"Cowboy" simply has too many dope highlight-reel finishes to pack into one list. Here are eight more that I could have included. Tune in Saturday to see these two action heroes scrap it out!