Now that UFC Fight Night 45: Cerrone vs Miller is all wrapped up from the REVEL Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, we take a look ahead to some possible future matchups for the top six winners from fight night Wednesday.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone pulled out all the stops for his main event showdown with Jim Miller this past Wednesday night. The fight started very quickly and both were working to establish their dominance early on. Cerrone’s variety of attacks are what really spelled the end for Miller as he failed to smother Cowboy when he tried to take him down. Cerrone, being the taller striker, was lighting Miller up with knees on the inside and kicks from all angles when far on the outside, which left Miller unsure of what was coming at him next. He did land some good punches that wobbled his opponent, but a few clocks to Cowboy’s dome wasn’t enough to stop the incoming assault that was aimed in his direction. A big right high kick floored the New Jersey native and left him down for the count. Word is Cerrone was supposed to meet Russian Sambo sensation Khabib Nurmagomedov in a battle for a No. 1 contender spot. But that was before Nurmagomedov got injured and was removed from the fight.
Edson Barboza fought a perfect fight against Evan Dunham, not committing to anything big early on until the time was right. Dunham’s game played right into Barboza’s attack. Standing right in front of a beast like Barboza and basically just boxing with him was probably the worst game plan a guy could come up with. He did try one takedown but never even looked to press him into the fence or work more takedowns. We usually see Barboza taking big breaks between fights, but I think a quick turnaround for him is necessary, and especially since he just finished his bout with ease and came out unscathed. Gleison Tibau just took a win over Pat Healy on Wednesday. Sounds good enough to me.
Rick Story finished his opponent without much trouble. There were some nice exchanges between the two in the first round but the wrestling background of Story came into play, and it didn’t take long before his big advantage on the mat became evident. He mostly just spent the first round out positioning his foe from top, passing to side control and landing some decent gnp when he pleased before locking up the head and arm choke in the second round. Now that Story is back in the win column, he should see a step up in competition. Wins over lousy re-debuting fighters won’t cut it if he plans on making a run for the belt. Story is the type of guy who could fill in as a late replacement in any of the scheduled fights between top welterweights. Maybe we’ll see what happens with Ryan LaFlare next. That sounds like a fitting matchup for Story.
Proctor was one of the more promising prospects to come out of the ultimate fighter season but hasn’t really shown his full potential in the Octagon. He stuffed nearly every takedown Justin Salas tried to force on him in their fight and took a huge hook to the head that left a weird looking welt by his left ear (click if you dare). Proctor put him away in the second with a swift left hook counter and the TKO stoppage came right after. It didn’t look like Salas was fully out. In fact, he was dropped previously and recovered using his wrestling. He wasn’t given a good enough chance the next time around, though. I like a matchup with Piotr Hallman next for Proctor.
John Lineker smashed Alptekin Ozkilic for two rounds before finishing the job in the third. It was a little disheartening to see the fight get stopped right when Alp fell down with 11 seconds remaining in the final frame, especially since the dude took about 100 punches to the body and head prior to the stoppage. Lineker will likely be paired with the winner of Ian McCall vs Brad Pickett tomorrow night.
Lucas Martins’ notoriously known inability to take a punch was proved wrong in this fight. He was a lot more calm and active this time around and began setting in his superior striking from start to finish. It was very clear that Martins had the more dynamic striking attack from the get-go as he mixed up punches and kicks using both hands and legs, making it much harder for Alex White to get anything going on his side of the match. A big right put White down and the bout was called after some hammerfists that followed the knockdown. Kevin Souza would match up very well with Martins. Let’s do it!