Donald Cerrone Bludgeons Al Iaquinta Bloody in UFC Fight Night 151 Main Event

By: Brian Knapp
May 4, 2019

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Donald Cerrone’s ferocity was too much to bear, even for Al Iaquinta.

Crushing kicks and savage multi-punch bursts spurred “Cowboy” to a unanimous decision over Al Iaquinta in the UFC Fight Night 151 headliner on Saturday at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. Cerrone (36-11, 23-8 UFC) extended his Ultimate Fighting Championship record for career victories with a sublime performance and carried all three scorecards with room to spare: 49-45, 49-45 and 49-46.

The first 10 minutes were competitive, but Cerrone found another gear in the third round and never looked back. He tenderized Iaquinta’s upper and lower leg with kicks while chewing up his face with searing jabs and combinations of two, three and four punches or more. Iaquinta (14-5-1, 9-4 UFC) refused to buckle but hit the deck on multiple occasions -- on a jab in the third round, a pair of front kicks in the fourth and a hailstorm of strikes in the waning moments fifth, where perhaps only the bell saved him. By the time it was over, he was barely recognizable.

Seemingly reborn after becoming a father, Cerrone has now rung up three straight wins since his decision defeat to Leon Edwards a little less than a year ago.

Persistent Brunson Handles Theodorou

Takedowns and worthwhile clinch work carried Derek Brunson to a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter Nations” winner Elias Theodorou in the three-round middleweight co-main event. All three judges scored it for Brunson (19-7, 10-5 UFC): 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

Theodorou (16-3, 8-3 UFC) enjoyed success in the second round but spent too much time evading his opponent’s advances while pecking away with non-consequential punches and kicks. Brunson authored the fight’s most decisive moments. He landed the first of his four takedowns inside the first minute, climbed to full mount and alternated between one dominant position and another, ultimately moving to Theodorou’s back and threatening with a rear-naked choke. In the third round, Brunson stymied the Canadian’s momentum with a thunderous high-amplitude takedown, positional control and clinches.

The setback put an end to Theodorou’s run of three consecutive victories.

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Burgos Outpaces Reeling Swanson

Team Tiger Schulmann standout Shane Burgos outstruck Cub Swanson across three rounds and eked out a split decision over the World Extreme Cagefighting veteran in their featured featherweight confrontation. Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 for Burgos, 30-27 for Swanson.

Burgos (12-1, 5-1 UFC) kept the Rigan Machado-trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt at bay with a punishing jab and crackling right hands, his efforts doing visible damage to his more experienced adversary. Swanson (25-11, 10-7 UFC) answered with sporadic kicks and punching combinations of his own, but he paid the price for allowing the once-beaten New York native to lead the dance.

Swanson, 35, has lost four fights in a row -- the longest such streak of his career.

Dvalishvili Smothers Unbeaten Katona

Former Ring of Combat champion Merab Dvalishvili gained some welcomed traction in the 135-pound weight class, as he cruised to a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter 27” winner Brad Katona in a three-round bantamweight feature. Dvalishvili (9-4, 2-2 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks across the board.

Katona (8-1, 2-1 UFC) was stonewalled at every turn. The relentless Dvalishvili executed takedowns in all three rounds, kept the Canadian pinned to the mat and applied his ground-and-pound in spurts. Katona had no answer for the weapons the Serra-Longo Fight Team rep brought to the table and seemed resigned to his fate as the fight drifted into the latter stages.

Dvalishvili, 28, has won eight of his last 10 bouts.

Harris Pummels Newcomer Spivak

Two-state Golden Gloves champion Walt Harris cut down Sergey Spivak with knee strikes and punches less than a minute into the first round of their heavyweight showcase. A short-notice substitution for the repurposed Alexey Oleynik, Spivak (9-1, 0-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 50 seconds into Round 1.

Harris (12-7, 5-6 UFC) gave the Moldovan newcomer no room to breathe, much less operate. He backed Spivak to the fence with heavy punches, brought a volley of knees into the equation and bullied his 24-year-old adversary to the canvas, where he could only cover up in the fetal position. More punches and hammerfists followed, necessitating the stoppage.

It was the third sub-minute finish of Harris’ career.

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Sanchez Spoils Barriault Debut

“The Ultimate Fighter 23” winner Andrew Sanchez won for the second time in as many appearances, as he laid claim to a unanimous decision over former TKO Major League MMA champion Marc-Andre Barriault in a three-round middleweight clash. All three cageside judges struck 29-28 scorecards in Sanchez’s favor.

Barriault (11-2, 0-1 UFC) had his moments -- he was especially effective in the second round, where he had his counterpart reeling on more than one occasion with body-head combinations and close quarters uppercuts -- but his spotty takedown defense betrayed him when it mattered most. Sanchez (11-4, 4-2 UFC) slowed his momentum in Round 3, as he paired a much-needed takedown with suffocating top control, drained valuable time off the clock and prevented the Canadian from doing further damage in the standup.

The loss snapped an eight-fight winning streak for Barriault.

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