Cerrone and Diaz had been talking trash to each other in the run-up to the fight, had to be restrained from fighting each other at a pre-fight press conference this week, and declined to touch gloves before the fight, with Cerrone instead giving Diaz the finger. But once the opening bell rang, it was Diaz who did all the fighting.
In the first round Diaz brutalized Cerrone with high-volume punching, hitting Cerrone in the face again and again and again. By the middle of the round Cerrone's mouth was bleeding and he appeared to have trouble keeping it closed, as if he might have had a jaw injury. It was a dominant first round for Diaz.
Cerrone was better in the second round, changing up his approach to attack more with leg kicks and knocking Diaz off balance with trips and sweeps. However, Cerrone wasn't able to do much of anything when he succeeded in knocking Diaz down, and Cerrone still ate a lot of punches from Diaz. The second round was closer, but I still gave it to Diaz.
By the third round Diaz knew he was in command and was cruising with his high-volume punching, easily battering away at Cerrone and clinching the win. The only question in the final moments of the fight was whether there would be any type of ugly post-fight scene, but instead the men shook hands and hugged afterward, and shook hands again when the judges' scorecards were announced, with Diaz winning 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
The win improves Diaz's record to 15-7, and it was as good as he has looked in the Octagon, Cerrone, fighting for the fifth time in 2011, looked tired and worn down, and his record falls to 17-4. In the end, Diaz was classy as he walked out of the Octagon.
"I want to thank Donald Cerrone for the fight," Diaz said. "Sorry about all the s--t that went down."