Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (+130) vs. Niko Price (-154)
Weight Class: Welterweight (170 lbs)
Despite four straight losses, Cowboy Cerrone always generates interest when he fights. As a result, the future hall of famer finds himself in a co-main slot on a major card in UFC Vegas 11. Cowboy will be taking on Niko Price in a fight that probably won’t go to the score cards. Price has yet to go to a decision in 11 UFC appearances and has only seen a third round once, which happened to be in his last performance against Vicente Luque. On the other hand, Cowboy has been KO’d in three of his last four appearances and has taken significant damage over the course of his career.
For Niko Price, he is just one fight removed from a shocking upkick KO of James Vick. The victory was just the second of its kind in the UFC and was yet another bizarre finish for Price, who once KO’d Randy Brown via hammer-fists off his back. These types of bizarre finishes, along with a very wild style, have made Niko Price a favorite among MMA fans.
Despite losing his last fight against Vicente Luque — the second match-up between the two — Price had his moments. He weathered a healthy barrage of leg kicks and managed to stun Luque more than once. Price went for a d’arce choke at one point, perhaps losing it due to the announcers calling it out. Luque actually alluded to this in the post-fight press conference.
Either way, the fight was 50-50 before Luque managed to weld Price’s eye shut with a devastating hook. Niko was game to continue, but Jason Herzog rightfully called for the doctor and the fight was called off. It may have been a loss, but Vicente Luque is as tough an out as they come at 170 and Price gave him one of his tougher fights in recent memory.
As for Cowboy, the four straight losses are certainly nothing to criticize. Before losing a controversial decision to Anthony Pettis his last go around, Cowboy fought Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor. Though he was finished by all three, those are obviously some noteworthy names.
Now I’ll be real, I was initially scared to go with Niko Price in this one. Price should defeat Cowboy at this stage in their respective careers, but low profile fight Cowboy is a dangerous man. Cowboy’s head-kicks are second to none and he has had success in the past against rangy strikers such as Niko Price.
With that said, I truly do believe that Cowboy is finished at an elite level. If I’m wrong I’ll be happy for him, but Cerrone seems to be aimlessly fighting at this point. He’s been KO’d so many times that an aggressive finisher such as Niko Price should have no problem getting it done.
I do think that Price will win, but again, there is danger. Niko Price has been prone to getting overzealous in the past and has been KO’d for it. He can also be a bit wild on the ground, which is an area where I see Cowboy having success.
Ultimately though, Niko’s chin is very solid despite being stopped more than once. With the volume we’re accustomed to seeing from Price, he should have no problem going forward. Even if Cowboy is able to counter effectively, Price should be able to weather the storm, as he largely did so against one of the division’s heaviest hitters in Vicente Luque. So long as Price stays cool, I think he has this one in the bag.
With a moneyline of (-154), I really don’t want to mess with that. This is honestly a gift line in my opinion, seeing as how Niko Price is really coming into his own lately. Price inside the distance (-115) isn’t much better, so there’s no point in messing with the line just in case he does finally go to the score cards. It’s bound to happen eventually and the 12th time may just be the one. Predicting a sub or a KO is too risky in my opinion, though I’d lean KO (+110).
Still, I’m sticking with the moneyline to play it safe.
Prediction and play: Niko Price moneyline (-154)