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Iaquinta to halt Cowboy’s run? Get UFC on ESPN+ 8 tips for Saturday

Leigh Copson 2 May 2019
Donald Cerrone (left) in action (credit:Kelvin Ma/Zuma Press/PA Images)

UFC on ESPN+ 8 predictions for Saturday, May 4. Will Donald Cerrone make it three wins on the bounce to stake his claim for a UFC lightweight title show, or can Al Iaquinta beat ‘Cowboy’ to strengthen his own calls for a crack at the 155lb crown? Read on for all of our free predictions and betting tips for UFC on ESPN+ 8.

Al Iaquinta v Donald Cerrone

It has been over four years since Donald Cerrone had his one and only shot at a UFC title, but after impressive back-to-back stoppage wins ‘Cowboy’ is looking to finally land himself another crack at becoming lightweight champion. Despite submitting Mike Perry inside one round last November, Cerrone opted to move back down from welterweight after a poor run that saw him lose four of his five fights prior to that victory over Perry, and it proved to be a very wise decision as he dominated Alexander Hernandez and taught the outspoken youngster a lesson before stopping him in the second. That victory catapulted him right back into the top 10 at 155lbs and if he can follow that up with another win on Saturday then he could be a top-five lightweight when the rankings are updated.

The reason Cerrone can make such a jump is that his next opponent is Al Iaquinta – currently ranked number four in the world thanks to a career-best run of form inside the Octagon that has seen him go 6-1 while beating the likes of Ross Pearson, Diego Sanchez, Kevin Lee and Jorge Masvidal. His sole defeat in this time came against dominant lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, but to his credit he did take the fight at very short notice and unlike Conor McGregor he was able to at least see out the full five rounds. ‘Raging Al’ believes he has done enough to land a rematch with Nurmagomedov and a victory over Cerrone would almost certainly strengthen his calls – but will he have his hand rasied on Saturday night?

This is a tough one to call – a real pick ‘em fight. Iaquinta is in fine form right now with his heavy hands and superb takedown defence making him a real handful for anyone. However, Cerrone has looked sharp in his last couple of outings and if he can keep this fight at range, using his leg kicks, then this could be a very successful outing for him. But as we already know, it is difficult to tell which Cerrone will turn up at times. There are times he looks inspired and capable of beating anyone on the planet, but there are times when, for whatever reason, he just does not show up.

This makes him a very difficult fighter to bet on and as much as I would personally like to see Cerrone win here, I am not completely convinced. Too often he has faltered at the wrong time and that could be the case again here. Therefore Iaquinta appears to be the safer – and probably smarter – pick for this lightweight encounter, and I am backing him to have his hand raised after the two men go the full 25 minutes. Cerrone has rarely been stopped by strikes in the 155lb ranks and while he does possess plenty of power, ‘Raging Al’ hardly has the record of a knockout artist with only seven of his 14 professional wins coming via KO/TKO.

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Iaquinta to halt Cowboy’s run? Get UFC on ESPN+ 8 tips for Saturday

UFC on ESPN+ 8 predictions for Saturday, May 4.

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