Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone earned a unanimous-decision victory over Al Iaquinta in a thrilling main event Saturday at UFC Ottawa to take another huge step toward a lightweight title shot.
The judges scored the fight 49-45, 49-45, and 49-46 for Cerrone.
It’s the third straight win for Cowboy, and his second following a move to lightweight after a dominant performance against the previously undefeated Alexander Hernandez.
Cerrone and Iaquinta spent the opening round feeling each other out while struggling to establish their range. But Cowboy teased the fireworks that were to come, landing a huge knee to Iaquinta’s face and momentarily staggering his opponent.
Cowboy punished Iaquinta with leg kicks and started to gain momentum heading into the third round. Near the end of the third round, Cowboy sent Iaquinta crashing to the mat with a straight jab, but he couldn’t finish the match before the bell sounded. The knockdown was the 19th of Cerrone’s career and a new UFC record.
In the fourth round, a devasting straight kick to the face downed Iaquinta, forcing him to scramble and recover:
Iaquinta continued to show his mettle, moving forward with purpose and using his left hook to good effect despite the non-stop punishment to his legs.
In the final round, Cowboy weathered Iaquinta’s last-ditch attempts to land the knockout, with the two fighters leaving everything in the Octagon in a brutal match-ending exchange.
After his victory, Cowboy turned his sights back to Conor McGregor, despite previously saying he was done with the Irishman after a rumored fight between the two didn’t materialize.
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