One of the most annoying things that happened when I made the switch from SILVA 1.0 to SILVA 1.1 concerns Donald Cerrone. It’s not Cerrone’s rating that bugged me; at 76.31, he rates 7th in the lightweight division, which sounds about right to me. It’s his last opponent, Dennis Siver, that was the problem. After writing all about how Siver was overrated and Cerrone would beat him badly, after Cerrone did in fact beat Siver badly, Siver received a very high SILVA score of 71.61 even after losing to Cerrone. Grr.
Regardless, Cerrone should be considered a strong favorite to beat Nate Diaz in this fight. The criticism I’ve had of Cerrone in the past has been that, for a guy everybody liked to describe as a great Muay Thai fighter, he sure didn’t have a lot of TKO wins on his record. In fact, for a while there, he had none. That changed earlier this year, when Cerrone crushed Charles Oliveira, and Cerrone followed that up by out-classing Siver. Cerrone has been able to blend real power with his crisp technique. Combine that now devastating striking with a very good ground game, and what you get is a tough challenge for anybody in the lightweight division.
So it is that, even though Nate Diaz has a high-volume striking game not unlike his brother Nick, it’s hard to see him winning this fight. In a way, Cerrone is a better version of Diaz. Both fighters have good striking and grappling, but Cerrone does those things to a better degree than Diaz does. In addition, Cerrone seems to have the better wrestling game to me… so Cerrone is better in all areas of the MMA game.
Is there a glimmer of hope for Diaz anywhere? If there is, it’s hard to see it. Diaz’s recent success has been against names like Takanori Gomi, Marcus Davis, Rory Markham, and Melvin Guillard. Apart from Guillard, who was shown to be over-hyped in his last fight against Joe Lauzon, there’s nothing there for Diaz to really hang his hat on. When Diaz has stepped up in competition, like against Rory MacDonald, or even Gray Maynard, he’s fallen short.
SILVA PREDICTION: DONALD CERRONE (76.31) OVER NATE DIAZ (46.86)
Diaz has been clamoring for a fight against a top ten opponent. Well, he got it, and I anticipate that we’re going to see why the UFC has been reluctant to place Diaz in such a fight in the past. Don’t get me wrong, Diaz is a tough, skilled fighter, and not an easy out for anybody. If he was taking on, for example, Gleison Tibau or Matt Wiman, I’d give Diaz a very good chance to win. In this case, there’s no clear path to victory.