‘Cowboy’ finally gets his title shot – Preview of UFC on FOX 17

By Owen Phillips     17/12/15

Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone meets lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos this Sunday (Australian time) at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event UFC on FOX 17. Known for not caring about title shots and only the love of the fight, ‘Cowboy’ has amassed a phenomenal eight-fight winning streak. The guarantee of a title fight had him sitting back and slowing his usual busy schedule to wait for the champion to be ready.

Dos Anjos defends his belt for the first time after changing the UFC lightweight division’s landscape by thoroughly dominating Anthony Pettis in his last fight. Dos Anjos uses his near flawless mixed martial arts (MMA) game to overwhelm his opponents with relentless pressure. This meeting with Cerrone will be a rematch of the last time ‘Cowboy’ tasted defeat. In that fight Dos Anjos won in a clear judges’ decision.

During the UFC 194 Post-Fight Show on Fox Sports 1, Brian Stann said he felt that ‘Cowboy’ was up for this fight and he has made the necessary adjustments to win. He went on to say that sometimes ‘Cowboy’ is not up for certain fights but it was not the case this time. Stann’s fellow analyst Michael Bisping suggested ‘Cowboy’ should use more techniques other than his Muay Thai because Dos Anjos is more well-rounded in his set of skills.

In the co-main event there is an enticing heavyweight matchup between former UFC champion Junior Dos Santos (JDS) and Alistair Overeem. Overeem has been asking for this fight for a few years and has had to be replaced the last two times the bout was scheduledJDS already has a win over current champion Fabricio Werdum with a sledgehammer of an uppercut  and will be looking to implement his crisp boxing against Overeem to move on to a potential rematch. Since the move to Jackson/Winklejohn MMA in Alberquerque, New Mexico, Overeem has become more strategic in his approach to his fights, working in takedowns and striking with awareness of his opponent’s range, to complement his kickboxing attack and almost unmatched knees in the clinch.

Other fights not to miss include Nate Diaz versus Michael Johnson in a lightweight tussle and Tamdan McCrory against Josh Samman at middleweight in a battle of the finishers. Diaz is always entertaining and a dangerous Johnson is coming off a controversial decision loss that ruined a four-fight winning streak. ‘The Barn Cat’ McCrory is returning to the UFC to face Samman who is fighting in his home state of Florida. Trent Reinsmith from MMAjunkie documented Samman’s struggle to recover from personal setbacks to get to this point in his life.