Cleat Geeks

The Cowboys will Fight in Pittsburgh

UFC_CowboyvsCowboyMMA fighters are tough. That is a statement that I believe all but a few would agree with, but some fighters are actually tougher than others. On Feb. 21st we have a very rare encounter between former professional bull riders. Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira steps in for Tim Means (facing a possible suspension for PED use) to face Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. This is the first time I can recall a main event in which fighters are competing for the rights to a name. Regardless of the winner, both men have earned the respect their nickname carries.

DonaldCerroneIf you follow Donald Cerrone on Instagram or twitter, you receive a constant dose of his unique lifestyle. One of his latest posts showed his flipped over Ford Raptor that led him to the conclusion that super charged vehicles and snow shouldn’t mix. This man is actually missing part of his intestine due to a failed jump he tried to accomplish with his ATV that disemboweled him. He is the only MMA fighter that I have ever seen who drinks his Budweiser at the post-fight press conference (now let’s see Peyton Manning top that one).

I don’t think any current fighter has faced the amount of big-named talent that Cerrone has. He has wins over Benson Henderson, Myles Jury, Eddie Alvarez, Jim Miller, Edson Barboza, Evan Dunham, Jeremy Stephens, Charles Oliveira, Jamie Varner, Rob McCullough, and Danny Castillo, all of which are or were some of the most relevant names the sport has ever seen. Not one loss he has suffered was to someone who wasn’t a household name (Rafael Dos Anjos, Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz, Jamie Varner, Benson Henderson). They say it isn’t a good idea to emulate sports figures, but Donald has a life that any man could respect.

Some of the greatest nicknames in the sport never translate to the fighter that their attached to, nor do they have any barring on that person’s lifestyle. That is not the case with these two individuals. Gabriel Gonzaga has one of the more appropriate nicknames in MMA (Napao, which means “Big Nose in Portuguese). “Pitbull” is one we have seen as the label for a couple of high profile fighters (Andrei Arlovski, Thiago Alves), but it just doesn’t hold the same merit “Cowboy” does for our two combatants.

Photo by; Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by; Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Oliveira has a very tough task ahead of him, but there is no way that he believes he’s overstepping his bound. He has some of the most controlled aggression that I have ever seen in the UFC when it comes to striking. You can see the intensity that he possesses, but he never seems to be ungoverned when throwing punches. Since entering the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Oliveira has landed one of every five strikes, and has a nearly 50% success rate on takedowns. He can hold his own in the cage, but will the main event slot prove to be too much for this cowboy?

This will be a fight that many hardcore fans will appreciate. It is hard to tell where these fighters will want to take the fight, but I believe Cerrone will dictate the pace after the initial bell rings. It will be Oliveira’s responsibility to counter. He may believe that he can stand with Donald. That is not a very popular choice, but he may fare better than John Makdessi who opted for the same tactic, which resulted in a shin to the head which shattered his jaw, and led to a verbal submission. However it plays out, this will be a fight that fans will probably be referring to for all of 2016.


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