*** For MMAmania.com's UFC Fight Night 45: "Cerrone vs. Miller" play-by-play coverage of the main card click RIGHT HERE. ***
Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) invasion of the "Garden State" is well underway, as UFC Fight Night 45: "Cerrone vs. Miller" is live from Revel Resort & Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., tonight (Weds., July 16, 2014), providing fans with a hefty dose of mixed martial arts (MMA) violence in the middle of the workweek.
Before the main card battles began, several combatants traded their best shots on the "Prelims," which were broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), as well as a lone bout taking place on the promotion's digital network, Fight Pass.
In the main event of the "Prelims," two fighters with a combined 99 appearances duked it out in the lightweight division, as Gleison Tibau defeated Pat Healy in an entertaining fight that went the distance.
Both fighters were cautious in the opening stages of the first round, as each slugger landed solid shots. Tibau caught "Bam Bam" with a crushing right hand early, yet the Strikeforce veteran stayed on his feet. Tibau then scooped up Healy for a giant takedown, staying heavy on top for the majority of the first round and including punches in his attack.
Healy tried to damage Tibau with his strikes in the second round, yet the Brazilian used his takedowns to neutralize the American. When they got back to their feet, Tibau surprisingly used improved footwork to stay away from Healy's strikes, making "Bam Bam" look incredibly predictable. The former Strikeforce lightweight came alive at the end of the second round, landing more significant strikes despite being down two rounds.
After being told to come out strong, Tibau was eager to trade blows with Healy, who got in the Brazilian's face with his gritty fighting style. The Brazilian veteran slowed down and allowed Healy to improve, while getting caught on the wrong side of a clinch against the fence on several occasions.
Nevertheless, Tibau's late takedowns in the third round certainly won him the fight, taking home the unanimous decision, and delivered Healy his fourth UFC loss. For the time being, Tibau has the most wins in UFC lightweight history, but can be matched by Jim Miller later this evening.
After stepping up on just days notice in her first UFC fight and coming up short in a rematch against Sarah Kaufman, Leslie Smith introduced herself accordingly to the rest of the women's bantamweight division by mauling Jessamyn Duke in the first round.
The Four Horsewoman member was eating shots from Smith, who backed up the former model every time she pressed forward. Duke was landing when things got scrappy, yet the "Peacemaker" was there to stick it to her even more.
A turning point in the fight was when The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 cast member caught Smith's leg after the latter threw a kick, and had no idea how to punish her adversary for the mistake. Smith then hurt Duke with right hands, following up with a liver shot and a bunch of shots in a flurry to put Duke away early.
The Brazilian dropped Sterling early in the first round, and the striking battle looked relatively even. Both fighters exchanged flashy kicks for the latter half of the first round, each of them landing their fair share of blows.
In the second round, the Serra-Longo product turned it up a notch with his takedowns, smothering Viana despite "Wolverine's" toughness. Sterling's transitions were lightning quick, yet he couldn't lock in a rear naked choke towards the end of the round to put the Brazilian away.
Sterling was able to find more success with his wrestling in the third round, and after failing to lock up an armbar, followed by a head and arm choke, the American opted to drill the Bahia-based combatant with a hefty dose of strikes from top position. Sterling landed some brutal shots, and despite Viana trying to cover up while getting pummeled, the undefeated fighter clocked his foe with a few hammer fists that earned him the stoppage.
Kicking off the action on FS1 was a lightweight fight, which saw Yosdenis Cedeno defeat Jerrod Sanders after one round due to injury.
A leg kick thrown by Cedeno -- the first strike of the fight -- twisted Sanders' left knee, but he fought through it for the entire round while taking a load of punishment. The Oklahoma native threw a kick in the Cuban's direction, and "Pink Panther" caught it, following up with a right bomb that floored Sanders.
After trying to seal the deal with wild ground-and-pound, Cedeno had to fight off Sanders' wrestling while securing a dominant position towards the end of the round. When the first round came to a close, the former Bellator fighter couldn't even get to his corner without the help of his coaches. After a ringside physician asked Sanders to get up off the stool and walk, he couldn't even put weight on his left leg and the fight was called off.
History was made on Fight Pass earlier this evening, as the digital network played host to the first ever UFC women's strawweight bout. Claudia Gadelha was able to overcome a tough Tina Lahdemaki for the unanimous decision win.
The Brazilian displayed crisp boxing in the first round, setting her opponent up for a big takedown minutes later. "Claudinha" was softening up Lahdemaki on the ground, eager to lock in the rear naked choke. She tried twice, but the Finnish fighter defended well until the end of the round.
With bite marks on her arm, Gadelha slowed down in the second round, which allowed "Jelly Bean" to find her range. Gadelha was still landing significant strikes, although her foe was matching her on the feet.
In the third round, Gadelha landed better punches in the flurries, and scored a big takedown to secure the fight. She did have a couple of takedown attempts stuffed before that, however, she sent Lahdemaki to the mat pretty hard and went to work in order to obtain the win on all scorecards.
Here are the full UFC Fight Night 45 quick results below:
Gleison Tibau def. Pat Healy via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Leslie Smith def. Jessamyn Duke via TKO (punches) at 2:24 of R1
Aljamain Sterling def. Hugo Viana via TKO (punches) at 3:50 of R3
Yosdenis Cedeno def. Jerrod Sanders via TKO (Fighter Retirement) at 3:00 of R1
Claudia Gadelha def. Tina Lahdemaki via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27x2)
That's a wrap.
Be sure to follow our UFC Fight Night 45: "Cerrone vs. Miller" play-by-play of the entire card right here.