I dunno what was up with Donald Cerrone for this fight. Seconds after the fight happened he admitted “I was holding back and not doing what I wanted to do.” During the fight I thought maybe he was trying to bust out a new, disciplined Cowboy. But afterward he admitted that he was fighting not to lose and had let the hype on Vagner Rocha’s game ground scare him away from fighting the way he normally does.
I guess that makes sense. It’s easy to sit on the couch throwing cheetos at the television screen while screaming “FINISH HIM YOU FUCKING PUSSY!” But when it’s your career on the line and you’re facing this mystery jiu jitsu wiz that no one knows, it must be hard not to play it safe. Especially after you’ve lost some fights going balls deep and giving up goofy subs as a result.
But boy did Donald ever play it safe. For a while I thought I was watching some strange middle eastern kick fighting event. Cerrone stayed on the outside peppering Rocha nonstop for three rounds, occasionally pulling off a nice jab / kick combo but mainly just sticking with the leg attacks. Rocha spent the fight desperately going for the takedown, getting shrugged off, and getting his legs pulverized to mush.
It was really no proper matchup – Cerrone obviously outclassed Rocha on the feet and Rocha had no chance of getting Cerrone to the ground. But Cerrone just couldn’t get past the mindframe that Rocha might – just might – bust something out at any second and catch him. Alas, maybe the fight would have been interesting if that was the case. As it was, Cerrone got served up a can but left his can opener at home.