February 18, 2018

Yancy Medeiros Looks To Climb Welterweight Ladder At UFC Fight Night 126

By Adam Martin

One of the most exciting welterweight fighters on the planet right now is Yancy Medeiros, and the UFC is rewarding him for his three-fight win streak with a main event against fan favorite Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 126. The event goes down tonight at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. It's the first five-round main event for Medeiros, and the UFC has selected a willing opponent in Cerrone, as the two both have exciting styles that should lead to a terrific fight.

Medeiros has won all three of his fights since moving up to welterweight, first submitting Sean Spencer at UFC 203, then knocking out Erick Silva at UFC 212, before finishing Alex "Cowboy" Oliveira in an all-out war in his last fight at UFC 218. He's very deserving of a ranked opponent, and the fact he'll be getting his first main-event slot in the UFC against a household name like Cerrone shows that the promotion is behind him. And why wouldn't it be, when Medeiros has proven ever since stepping into the Octagon back in 2013 that he's an action-oriented fighter that is constantly improving.

Medeiros -- one of the many former Strikeforce fighters the UFC brought over when the rosters merged in 2013 -- has never been in a boring fight his entire run in the Octagon. In his UFC debut, which came at lightweight, he broke his thumb against Rustam Khabilov on a deadly slam. When he returned from injury he knocked out Yves Edwards in the first round before the fight was overturned to a No Contest due to marijuana use. Next was a submission loss to Jim Miller that made fans question Medeiros, but back-to-back submission wins over Damon Jackson and Joe Proctor put him back in the good books. A knockout loss to Dustin Poirier followed, then a split decision win over John Makdessi. One more defeat followed though it came in spectacular fashion as he went three rounds against Francisco Trinaldo in one of the best fights of 2016, showing his toughness and heart even though he lost.

The loss to Trinaldo and a 3-4, 1 NC record as a lightweight in the UFC made Medieros decide to move up to 170 pounds, and like many other fighters who decided to give up a massive weight cut to move up in weight, the results have been spectacular so far. He's on the first three-fight win streak of his UFC career, the first win streak longer than two-in-a-row he's put together since 2010. After being an exciting gatekeeper as a lightweight, Medeiros is now an exciting contender as a welterweight, and he's finally broken through into the Top 15 at 170 lbs. A win over Cerrone would help hm break into the Top 10.

The UFC is big on Medeiros, and he's been rewarded five times with Performance of the Night or Fight of the Night awards in the UFC, but he hasn't received a main event opportunity until now, when he takes on Cerrone in a bout that has the potential to be amazing. Though Cerrone is on a three-fight losing streak and finally showing signs of slowing down as a fighter, he's still a huge name who is always involved in exciting fights. A few years ago Medeiros wasn't even in the same conversation as a guy like Cerrone, but with Medeiros making huge improvements to his game and Cerrone declining, it's now a very even matchup, and should be a lot of fun when it goes down this weekend.

A loss against Cerrone wouldn't be the end of the world for Medeiros. After all, he's the betting underdog so he's not even expected to win this fight. But a win would be huge. A win would shoot Medeiros into the Top 10 in the welterweight division and set him up for another big fight. While he may never reach championship level, the fact that such an exciting fighter has improved his game so much in recent years to get to this level is super impressive, and fans are ready to see just how far he can go.

For Yancy Medeiros, breaking through as a contender will greatly depend on how he looks against Donald Cerrone. If you look at Cerrone's last three fights, consider Robbie Lawler, Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal are all universally ranked as top-10 fighters now, the latter two earning their ranking after taking out "Cowboy." A win for Medeiros would be equally as huge for the Hawaiian and should put him in top-10 position. For someone who started his career as a heavyweight a decade ago, his rise to welterweight contender has been nothing short of extraordinary and it will be interesting to see if he can take that next step by looking amazing against Cerrone and joining the welterweight division's elite ranks. Once viewed as just an action fighter, Medeiros is now a bona fide contender and a potential secondary star for the UFC at a time when the company desperately needs them.

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