Clint’s MMA picks record: 7-9-0 for -1.03 units
Saturday, January 19, 10:30 p.m. ET
Free UFC Pick: Hernandez ML
Best Line Offered: Pinnacle
As usual, to get started we need to go over our record. After an insane night of fights to end 2018 we catch a break with Floyd Mayweather vs. Tenshin Nasukawa at Rizin 14. Back when we did the props for this event offered on BetOnline, I suggested you take Manny Pacquiao does NOT attend and sure enough the boxer had better things to do than watch Mayweather win a potentially rigged fight in Japan, bringing the overall record to 7-9 down just more than one unit. Let’s turn this boat around at UFC Fight Night 143!
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is a fan favorite because he really will fight anybody anywhere. One of his regular lines leading up to fights is that he doesnt research his opponents. He likes to go in the octagon and be confident in his own skills and his own game plan and just let the fight flow. He holds a place in fans’ hearts because of this gunslinger attitude towards fighting, but it doesn’t always work out for him. He didn’t prep for Darren Till and he got KO’d in Round 1.
Cerrone is 34-11 and is very much at the end of his career. He has been taking fun fights at 170 to avoid weight cutting and for the sake of enjoying his career and making some money, but now he is ready to get serious and take one last run at a title. UFC on ESPN+1 will see Cerrone drop back to his home weight class of 155 to take on Alexander “The Great’ Hernandez on January 19 in New York.
In a recent interview, Alexander vowed to “merk’ Cowboy in their fight. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, per Urban dictionary:
Merk – Verb
1. to kill someone
2. to beat someone in a game
3. to insult someone
4. to injure someone
Origin: Mercenary – To kill for money
Hernandez is young, hungry, and mean. Really mean. Not only mean, but he’s smart. It’s like you took Georges St-Pierre and injected him with old-school Diego Sanchez. That combination of smart and athletic with a dash of insane is Alexander Hernandez. This kid is ready to go and he has all the skills and athleticism to do it. He stormed onto the UFC scene by flat-line KO’ing Beneil Dariush in March 2018 in just 42 seconds. He was a late replacement that nobody had ever heard of, and showing up for your first UFC fight against an opponent of that caliber and making him look like he doesn’t belong in the cage with you is insanely impressive. Hernandez is 10-1, his lone loss coming by split decision in just his third professional fight.
Cerrone is a documented slow starter in fights and some of his biggest struggles come when his opponent doesn’t give him time to loosen up. If Hernandez’s first fight in the UFC is any indication of how aggressive he is, I expect him to get in Cerrone’s face from the opening bell and never let up. He also had a great performance against Olivier Aubin-Merier where he out-grinded a very skillful grappler. That fight showed me that Hernandez is not just a flash knockout fighter, but when the fight gets gritty and dirty he doesnt stop and he’s cerebral enough to find the best way to beat his opponent when his initial plan doesn’t work. I expect Hernandez to make Cerrone look old and get this fight done before the final bell, but the odds are playable to take him straight. Take “The Great’ to win!