Positioned as another explosive night of MMA action, UFC 274 will be coming at you live and direct this weekend from the Footprint Center in Phoenix. Along with a stellar top of the card that includes two championship fights, the night also features some dynamic men’s lightweight action. In our first fight breakdown, three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler squares off with the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 13, Tony Ferguson. After that, the powerful Joe Lauzon has a clash with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, the man who is tied for the record for the most wins in UFC history with 23 and also a slew of other accolades to his name.
Below, check out SBS’ extended breakdown of each fighter and who will ultimately win in each showdown.
|UFC 274 Lightweight Bouts
|Ferguson vs. Chandler
|Cerrone vs. Lauzon
What to look for from: Michael Chandler
One of the most successful fighters in the history of the Bellator promotion, Chandler is looking for a big rebound performance against Ferguson. Although he is coming off two back-to-back losses against some top-tier lightweight competition (he fell to Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira, at UFC 268 and 262, respectively) he is still a force in the division. Prior to that, Chandler had a string of victories that included his UFC debut win against Dan Hooker at UFC 257 via TKO. With a career mark of 22-7, Chandler is known for his devastating power as evidenced by his 10 career knockout victories. If he is able to knock off Ferguson, this will also be his best UFC victory to date.
What to look for from: Tony Ferguson
Recognized as one of the top contenders in the lightweight division, Ferguson is vying for his return to the divisional mountaintop. A former interim UFC Lightweight Champion (he defeated Kevin Lee via submission at UFC 216), he also had a phenomenal winning streak from 2013-2019 where he won an impressive 12 fights in a row. As of late though, the 38-year-old is on a three-fight losing skid that includes losses to Gaethje (UFC 249), Oliveira (UFC 256), and Beneil Dariush at UFC 262. Though his last two battles have come down to decision losses, Ferguson needs a big performance against Chandler to get back on track to the lightweight crown.
Prediction: A fairly even contest, this showdown between Chandler and Ferguson will certainly be one to watch given their similar resumes. That said, Chandler has the upper hand here given his youth and also his slightly better performances against similar competition (Oliveira and Gaethje).
What to look for from: Donald Cerrone
One of the most outspoken and colorful characters in the UFC, “Cowboy” Cerrone is also one of the company’s decorated athletes. Along with his mark for most wins in company history at 23 (tied with two others), Cerrone also holds the top mark for most post-fight accolades at 18. This broke the previous record shared by Nate Diaz and his upcoming opponent, Joe Lauzon. With a career record of 36-16, Cowboy is one of the most recognizable names to regular UFC fans. However, he has been on the skids as of late with six contests in a row without a win (five losses and one no contest). Also in four of those five fights, Cerrone lost via TKO, three times in the first round. Clearly, he will need a big performance against Lauzon in order to get back on the right track.
What to look for from: Joe Lauzon
Opposing Cerrone will be Lauzon who has not fought in the UFC since 2019. Though he does have some ring rust, the 37-year-old from Massachusetts is one of the most tenured fighters in the UFC. Like Cowboy, Lauzon has a lengthy resume with 28 career wins and multiple Fight of the Night performances to his name. In his last battle against Jonathan Pearce on ESPN, Lauzon won via TKO in the first round in his home state of Massachusetts. Following a 31-month hiatus, Lauzon is back to face Cerrone this weekend. In a bout that was initially scheduled for UFC Fight Night 208, this will be a big test for Lauzon’s new career momentum. What’s more, after an 18-month break, he did come back to beat Pearce in 2019.
Prediction: An even matchup between two UFC veterans, Cowboy Cerrone has the edge here given Lauzon’s considerable time away from the ring. This will be a close bout, though.
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