By Jonathan Solomon
Two lightweights are coming off disappointing losses and this spring, only one will be able to change their luck.
The UFC has confirmed a fight set for May 25 in Las Vegas at UFC 160 between K.J. Noons and “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone.
Noons (11-6) has been a Strikeforce competitor since 2010 and is 1-4 in his past five fights. He was last seen in January losing a controversial split decision to Ryan Couture, expressing disdain for the judges believing he had won. He’s guaranteed at least one fight in the UFC despite his unsuccessful run. His last win came in December 2011 when he defeated Billy Evangelista by unanimous decision.
The Hawaiian has fought in the past as both a professional boxer (11-2) and kick boxer (12-2), but he also boasts sound takedown defense. He is best known in MMA for his two battles with Nick Diaz. In 2007, he upset Diaz by beating him when a doctor stopped the bout due to cuts in Elite-XC for their vacant lightweight championship. Three years later, they had a rematch for Diaz’s Strikeforce welterweight championship but Noons lost a unanimous decision in a war of a fight.
Cerrone (19-5, 1 NC) lost to Anthony Pettis last month on Fox due to body strikes in the first round. In 2012, he defeated Jeremy Stephens and his friend, Melvin Guillard, earning knockout and fight of the night honors. He debuted in the UFC in 2011 and won four straight fights before losing to Nate Diaz at UFC 141 in December of that year.
Cowboy has also competed in kickboxing (28-0-1) and has been able to use his stature as a legitimate six-foot-tall lightweight to keep distance between he and opponents. Should he be able to get the fight on the ground, however, he may have the edge considering he has 13 wins by submission.
UFC 160 was announced last week for the promotion’s annual Memorial Day weekend event. Headlining the Las Vegas fight card will be a heavyweight title fight between champion Cain Velasquez and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. In the co-main event slot, former champion Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem will clash with the winner possibly earning the next title shot. Aside from Cerrone/Noons, the only other fight announced is a welterweight scrap between Amir Sadollah and Stephen Thompson.
What are your thoughts?