photo via Zuffa LLC/Getty Images, video via UFC on FOX
It’s hard not to like Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. Down to fight anyone, anyplace, anytime, and usually getting his hand raised at the end of it all seems to be the way his career is defined. With fans and even Dana White complaining about fighters playing it too safe, and not “going for it,” Cerrone seems to the guy that always goes for the finish and takes risks. It paid off again for him at UFC Fight Night 45: Cerrone vs Miller held at Revel Casino in Atlantic City. Facing a very tough and always dangerous Jim Miller in the main event of a very stacked card which had delivered some amazing fights up to that point. Starting off slow he took some big shots from Miller but soon managed to reverse the momentum and hurt him with a hard kick to the body. The bout was momentarily stopped by the ref thinking it was a low blow. Realizing it was not, the bout was allowed to continue but Miller never recovered from that kick, back pedaling and trying to regain his wind. He was never given that chance as Cerrone closed in and finished with a brutal shin kick to the side of Miller’s head.
It was a performance of the Night worthy display of everything fans have grown to love about Cowboy.
How many more wins will he need to get back into the title picture and who will be his next opponent? If there is one thing we have learned from him is that no matter who it is, Cowboy will be ready to fight him anytime and anywhere, and that deserves a tip of our hat.
Donald Cerrone def. Jim Miller KO (head kick and punches) Round 2 - 3:31
Edson Barboza def. Evan Dunham TKO (liver kick and punches) Round 1 - 3:06
Rick Story def. Leonardo Mafra Submission (arm-triangle choke) Round 2 - 2:12
Joe Proctor def. Justin Salas TKO (punches) Round 2 - 3:27
John Lineker def. Alptekin Özkiliç TKO (punches) Round 3 - 4:51
Lucas Martins def. Alex White KO (punches)Round 3 - 2:08
Preliminary card (Fox Sports 1)
Gleison Tibau def. Pat Healy
Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Leslie Smith def. Jessamyn Duke TKO (punches) Round 1 - 2:24
Aljamain Sterling def. Hugo Viana via TKO (punches) Round 3 - 3:50
Yosdenis Cedeno def. Jerrod Sanders
TKO (knee injury) Round 1 -5:00
Preliminary card (UFC Fight Pass)
Cláudia Gadelha def. Tina Lähdemäki
Unanimous Decision(30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Bonuses awarded (all bonus winners received $50,000):
Fight of the Night: John Lineker vs. Alptekin Özkiliç
Performance of the Night: Donald Cerrone and Lucas Martins
It was a memorable week in Vegas and in the world of MMA. The UFC held it’s annual Fan Expo this 4th of July week culminating with UFC 175 and the The Ultimate Fighter Finale the very next day with World Series of Fighting managing to air an event as well. It was definitely a super sized portion of MMA and we loved every minute of it. From Justin Gaethje snapping Nick Newell’s impressive undefeated streak in WSOF’s main event, to Chris Weidman finally moving out of the shadow of Anderson Silva and putting on an impressive performance against Lyoto Machida. Franke Edgar put an end to the fighting career of BJ Penn and oh yeah…did you happen to catch the Ronda Rousey fight? All :16 seconds of it? It’s times like these that make you feel grateful being an MMA fan. In case you happened to miss any of the action check out some of the video highlights below!
article by Adam LeBarr/ video courtesy of Fox Sports
UFC 174, in Vancouver, BC was filled with dominance, excitement and moments where if you blinked, you missed significant moments. This was the first time flyweights would main-event a PPV (pay-per-view) fight card, and they showed the fans why they deserve recognition and why they deserve to be in the top spot.
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ryan Jimmo wasn't the most exciting fight, but not a terrible start to the PPV fight card.
The first round didn't have a ton of action - a few solid strikes landed for Saint Preux, bloodying the nose of Jimmo. Heading into the second round, Jimmo immediately rushed OSP, pushing him to the cage. Moving along, Saint Preux was able to grab the leg of Jimmo on a failed kick attempt, then putting him to the mat. Just minutes into the round, Jimmo while on the bottom yelled to the referee: "it's broken, it's broken!" -- Saint Preux pried Jimmo's arm back, just to make sure the fight would end there.
Ovince Saint Preux victorious by way of verbal tap.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Brendan Schaub was lackluster, especially in the first 2 rounds of the fight.
Heading into the 3rd round, it looked to have been one round a piece for each (Schaub and Arlovski). In the 3rd round, Schaub successfully gained a takedown, where most of the damage done would be delivered. After dominating on the mat, Schaub was forced by 'The Pitbull' to get back to his feet, where Arlovski would land with a few shots of his own -- one puffing out the cheek of Schaub.
Ultimately, via: Split decision, Arlovski came out on top, which was a bit of a surprise for some. Arlovski in his return looked very hesitant, also while in the clinch with Schaub, it was more of him keeping control, rather then moving forward.
In the Bader/Cavalcante fight, long story short, it was pure domination for Ryan Bader.
From round 1 until the end of the fight, Bader overwhelmed Cavalcante with takedowns. Though most were defended, Bader would ultimately get the fight to the mat. In the 3rd round, Cavalcante finally looked to have opened up, but not for long.
Rafael Cavalcante had close to zero head/foot movement, showing no respect for the power Bader posses. In the end, Ryan Bader was the victor by way of unanimous decision. All three judges had the fight 30-27.
In the co-main event of the evening, Rory MacDonald and Tyron Woodley went head to head, both looking to make a statement, searching for a title shot against current champion Johny Hendricks.
Throughout the fight, in every aspect, Rory MacDonald dominated Tyron Woodley. If the fight wasn't on the mat, it was MacDonald taking octagon control, pushing Woodley back to the cage.
After his performance, he earned a dominant decision victory. He states post fight; He knows there's a big fight coming up (Brown vs. Lawler), but says he's ready. "The belt will be mine". Says he respects the UFC's decision to grant winner of that fight a titleshot. MacDonald happy with whoever the UFC puts him up against next.
Demetrious Johnson, the only champion ever inside the flyweight division took on Ali Bagautinov -- After tonight, it's hard not to say Johnson is the #1 P4P (pound for pound) fighter in the world.
In their main-event war, Johnson threw and landed an outrageous number of strikes, but Bagautinov would show no signs of defeat. There were a few times Bagautinov looked to have hurt Johnson, but unsuccessful in a follow up or finish.
Johnson, one of, if not the fastest man in the UFC, completely out struck the man (Ali Bagautinov) trying to take the title away from him. Bagautinov is normally a dominant fighter, but tonight, he was completely overwhelmed by the champion, Johnson.
The fight reached the end of the 5th, bringing both Johnson and Bagautinov to a final decision, where Johnson had all three judges scoring the fight in his favor, 50-45.
Post-fight, Joe Rogan reminded Johnson that basically everyone worthy/top of the flyweight division is someone he’s already defeated. 'Might Mouse' replied he plans on remaining the king of the division, knocking down anyone who steps up.
Demetrious Johnson def. Ali Bagautinov via unanimous decision
Rory MacDonald def. Tyron Woodley via unanimous decision
Ryan Bader def. Rafael Cavalcante via unanimous decision
Andrei Arlovski def. Brendan Schaub via split decision
Ovince St. Preux def. Ryan Jimmo via second-round TKO (verbal)
Kiichi Kunomoto def. Daniel Sarafian via submission (rear-naked choke)
Valerie Letourneau def. Elizabeth Phillips via split decision
Yves Jabouin def. Mike Easton via unanimous decision
Tae Hyun Bang def. Kajan Johnson via third-round KO (2:01)
Michinori Tanaka def. Roland Delorme via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Jason Saggo def. Josh Shockley via first-round TKO (4:57)
Fight of the Night: Tae Hyun Bang & Kajan Johnson
Performance of the Night: Tae Hyun Bang & Kiichi Kunimoto
(image via Zuffa, LLC/ article by Adam LeBarr)
To the real fans of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), it's finally happening, the 125lbs division will be the headlining fight of a PPV (Pay-Per-View) event.
Previously, the flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson has defended his title on free T.V - It be a Fight Night card, or featured on FOX. Now, after building a greater fan base and showing what the 125lbs weight division is all about, he's set to defend his title in UFC 174's main event against Ali Bagautinov.
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ryan Jimmo -
Saint Preux is currently on an impressive 4 fight win streak in the light heavyweight division, but his opponent, Jimmo, has the skills and tools to provide the fans in Vancouver with an upset.
Saint Preux is currently ranked #13 in the world within the 205lbs division - Considering Ryan Jimmo is yet to achieve a top 15 rank, this may spark a fire under the ass of Jimmo, making him a huge threat in their up-and-coming bout.
Despite what Jimmo may feel towards rankings and putting on an upset, on this one, I'm sticking to the numbers. Again, Ovince is on a great streak, and only getting better and better with every fight he takes.
Pick: Ovince Saint Preux
Brendan Schaub vs. Andrei Arlovski -
A warning; I may have a bias opinion on this one due to Arlovski being a favorite growing up as a kid. However, his 'welcome back' opponent isn't going to be a "walk in the park" for Arlovski.
Brendan Schaub, TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) contender on the 10th season, has grown a great deal within the world of MMA since his finale loss to Roy Nelson. Schaub is currently riding a 2 fight win streak, defeating Lavar Johnson and Matt Mitrione. Since his last victory, it has been 9 months since he last stepped foot inside the UFC octagon. We've seen 'ring rust', we've also witnessed fighters returning to the cage better then when they left. Schaub has recently moved, hoping the new environment will help point him in the right direction for a title run.
Arlovski is also on a 2 fight win streak. In the most recent years he has turned his fighting career completely around, as I'm sure you knew with him signing back with the UFC after 6 years of being away - fighting elsewhere. Late 2011, 'The Pitbull' picked up a TKO victory over Ray Lopez, it was nothing but success from that point forward.
In his return to the UFC, I can only assume Arlovski plans on making a huge statement towards Brendan Schaub, as well as the rest of the division. Dana White in a media scrum stated: "Arlovski is reaching the end of his career" - This weekend we find out.
Pick: Andrei Arlovski
Ryan Bader vs. Rafael Cavalcante -
Ryan Bader, ranked #9 in the 205lbs division has his eyes set on a title run. Though hes been close, he hasn't quite reached that level of combat competition. Cavalcante, ranked #12, has had a taste of gold. Prior to the UFC buying out Strikeforce, Cavalcante defeated 'King' Mo, obtaining the light heavyweight Strikeforce championship. Cavalcante is in search of his lost treasure, as to where Bader is looking for what was once almost in reach.
What impressed me was Ryan Bader's fight with Glover Teixeira - He lost, but rocked and looked to be just moment away from walking out of the octagon victorious against a man who was on a 20 fight win streak.
Bader has fought a long list of top UFC veterans, and will be looking to use that experience against Cavalcante.
Pick: Ryan Bader
Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley -
After Georges St-Pierre walked out of UFC 171 victorious after a controversial decision against Johny Hendricks, the French Canadian stated he needed a break from MMA. Shortly after making his statement in the octagon and in the post-fight press conference, on a conference call with Dana White and St-Pierre, he announced he was stepping away from the sport officially, giving up the title. This completely opened up the Welterweight division.
Since GSP has left (for now(we hope)), Lawler, Brown, Woodley, MacDonald + more have moved to the top of the division, all racing for a shot at the new title holder, Johny Hendricks. Matt Brown is set to take on Robbie Lawler in a no.1 contender bout, and at UFC 174 in the co-main event, Rory MacDonald takes on Tyron Woodley, and depending on the fight outcome, winner may be faced with a shot at gold.
MacDonald, ranked #2 and Woodley, ranked #3 are set to enter the UFC octagon, looking to prove either one of them is ready for the top position in the welterweight division, currently held by Johny Hendricks since St-Pierre's leave.
Both MacDonald and Woodley are coming off of impressive performances, now it's all about who truly wants it more. MacDonald for a while now has been top 5 in the 170lbs division, states he's only getting better and with his last victory over Damian Maia, it shows.
Pick: Rory MacDonald
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov -
In the main event, for the flyweight title, champion Demetrious Johnson takes on Ali Bagautinov. This will be the first time a 125lbser has headlined a PPV fight card.
Going into this fight, Demetrious Johnson over and over again has proven he's faster, stronger and an all around better fighter than anyone within the flyweight division - all but one.
Bagautinov is currently riding an 11 fight win streak, and last February, Bagautinov got the unanimous decision victory over John Lineker, solidifying his shot at the title.
Everyone that has built up an impressive enough resume to take on Johnson has fallen. Every fight, Johnson gets faster, and more explosive, as we saw in his last title defense against rival Joseph Benavidez.
Pick: Demetrious Johnson
Main card (PPV at 10 p.m. ET)
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov
Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley
Ryan Bader vs. Rafael Cavalcante
Andrei Arlovski vs. Brendan Schaub
Ryan Jimmo vs. Ovince St. Preux
Undercard (FX at 8 p.m. ET)
Daniel Sarafian vs. Kiichi Kunimoto
Valerie Letourneau vs. Milana Dudieva
Yves Jabouin vs. Mike Easton
Kajan Johnson vs. Tae Hyun Bang
Undercard (UFC Fight Pass at 7 p.m. ET)
Roland Delorme vs. Michinori Tanaka
Jason Saggo vs. Josh Shockley