HEART VS. BRAIN – UFC 202 (pt. 3): Rick Story vs. Donald Cerrone – Breaking down emotional and rationale reasons to predict outcome

By Ross Clark, MMATorch contributor

Donald Cerrone (photo credit Jane Kamin-Oncea © USA Today Sports)

Do you ever find your fight predictions coming down to an internal battle between who you hope will win and who you think will really win, even if you don’t fully admit it to yourself until after watching the opponent’s hand raised? Do you recall times when you picked against a fighter you didn’t like who you knew had the advantage all along, and you refused to acknowledge the fact?

When trying to keep an open mind leading up to a fight, many of us find ourselves making predictions on who will win based on who we want to win, even if it’s only on a subliminal level. The difficulty lies in separating your personal feelings towards a fighter, whether positive or negative, from a fighter’s proven ability and fight history.

In this column, I will delve into the main cards of key UFC events and explore that unending struggle of Brain vs. Heart. This following is the third fight I’ve broken down headed into UFC 202 on Saturday.

Rick Story vs. Donald Cerrone


With a reputation for being the UFC’s official hype spoiler (although the aforementioned Nate Diaz may have something to say about that now), you can never count Rick Story out of a fight. He’s beaten Johnny Hendricks, lost a split decision to Kelvin Gastelum which deflated Gastelum’s hype despite winning, and taken a split decision victory over the highly touted and previously undefeated Gunnar Nelson.

When you look at Donald Cerrone’s record, you’ll notice he has only ever lost to top tier competition and in three years he has only been defeated by one man, Rafael dos Anjos. That is rather impressive for one of the most active competitors in a sport with so many ways to lose. Cerrone’s striking is well-regarded and he has had some impressive (T)KOs in recent years, so it can surprise people to hear that over half of his wins have actually come via submission. With Cerrone having the ability to finish the fight standing and on the ground, I can see this being a rough night for Story, although I’m certainly not ruling out the decision upset.

Brain’s Prediction: Cerrone via Submission in the second round.


Rick Story has racked up a 12-6 record in the UFC, which is definitely respectable. It is more impressive when you consider that he competes in one of the UFC’s most competitive weight classes. Despite having the “hype spoiler” reputation, Story has yet to get a signature win under his belt. Being 18 fights into his UFC career, you would imagine that time has passed, although the UFC seems to be giving him a chance to take that signature win against Cerrone. So who here wouldn’t want to see a seven-year veteran breakthrough and get a chance to crack the top 5? Anyone?

In spite of everything I’ve just said though, I love watching Donald Cerrone fight. He’s an exciting addition to any fight card and the UFC is lucky he lacks patience when booking his next fight. Therefore, I would like to see a quick finish from Cerrone so he can have an equally quick turnaround and entertain us some more. Looks like my heart and brain are on a similar page with this matchup.

Heart’s Prediction: Cerrone via Submission in the first round. 

(Ross Clark is an MMATorch contributor from London, England. He has trained in MMA at the London Fight Factor and has attended classes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Wrestling, and MMA. He attained his blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu last October. His “Heart vs. Brain” column is inspired by his night’s out talking with friends about upcoming fights, debating who will win, and seeing people struggle between rationally, objectively predicting an outcome versus and the emotions that come up regarding whom they want to see win. He analyzes upcoming big name fights by breaking down the two approaches and acknowledging when one approach leads to a different prediction.)

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