WEC 45 Preview

Cerrone vs. Ratcliff

Dec 16, 2009
A B-boy Nigerian, “The Polish Hammer” and a Colorado “Cowboy” will provide a worthy bookend to another year of Zuffa LLC violence at WEC 45 “Cerrone vs. Ratcliff” this Saturday at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Time to ditch those Christmas sales in favor of some quality fisticuffs. Keep those withdrawal symptoms in check with a fresh round of grown-man fight talk. Just be sure not to bet a mortgage payment based on this analysis.

Donald Cerrone vs. Ed Ratcliff

The Breakdown:
Thanks to some questionable judging, Cerrone walked away from his interim lightweight title fight against Benson Henderson at WEC 44 with a loss on his resume and a rematch with incumbent champion Jamie Varner off the table. If Cerrone wants to revive his title plans, he needs to start by taking out Ratcliff, Chicago’s illest karateka.

Cerrone’s first step will be taking the center on Ratcliff, whose bad habit of straddling the cage renders his smooth footwork moot. Worse yet, Ratcliff has a tendency to move straight back with his hands down, a defensive flaw that Marcus Hicks mercilessly exploited in their bout at WEC 33. While Cerrone will never be confused for a tactical virtuoso, Hicks makes him look like Sun Tzu, and the Cowboy’s combination of reach and aggression represents a style clash with which Ratcliff struggles. Throwing spinning back hook kicks will win one plenty of fans, but Ratcliff struggles to control range, which renders his flashy arsenal useless since he needs space to execute it properly.

Photo by Sherdog.com

Donald Cerrone
Mixed martial arts needs a proper urban karate master to keep alive the legacy of Bruce Leroy; on first glance, Ratcliff fits the bill. A closer look, however, reveals a fighter whose defense falls apart when pressured. Far too often, he makes the elementary errors that no longer go unnoticed in the game today. In other words, it will take a lot of flying ninja kicks to keep Cerrone from sniffing out Ratcliff’s failings and taking away his glow.

The X-Factor: Most assume this fight will be heavy on the kickboxing since Cerrone generally does not shoot for takedowns unless he hurts his opponent. Regardless, that still does not change the fact that Cerrone has proven himself as one of the most fluid scramblers in the lightweight class and could easily put away Ratcliff with his kitchen sink approach to jiu-jitsu.

Known for stringing submissions together and weaving from one position to the next, Cerrone only enhances his mat game by often pouncing on opponents who have already been dazed by his strikes. On the off chance Ratcliff manages to turn the tables and scramble Cerrone’s brain, he still has to stay cognizant of the fact that Cerrone’s masochistic taste for punishment seems to only heighten his submission savvy.

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The Bottom Line: Anytime someone willingly trades with Ratcliff, it makes for a fun bit of violence, so expect nothing less here, as Cerrone takes the center of the cage and presses his foe from the opening bell. Once that bell sounds, all the fancy footwork in the world will not be enough to save Ratcliff from Cerrone’s superior counterstriking skills, and the omnipresent threat of a fight-ending scramble will effectively paralyze Ratcliff’s already inconsistent offense. A long overdue crescendo comes early in the third round thanks to a blistering two-piece by Cerrone that leaves Ratcliff in a heap.
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