Another Wednesday, another set of wars.
UFC Fight Night 45: "Cerrone vs. Miller" took place last night (July 16, 2014) from Revel Resort & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
And the FOX Sports 1-televised event was extremely entertaining to say the least. Indeed, the fight card was eventful, with a set of excellent performances brought forth by some of the most exciting combatants in the sports.
Donald Cerrone knocked out Jim Miller in the second round of their main event tussle, wowing the Atlantic City crowd with his third consecutive finish in 2014. After a difficult first round that seemingly belonged to Miller, "Cowboy" hurt his opponent badly in the second round, drilling him with kicks to the body before scoring a head kick knockout
In the co-main event, Edson Barboza returned to winning ways by stopping Evan Dunham in the first round, nailing the American with a liver kick to the body. "Junior" became the first fighter in UFC history to obtain four wins by a form of kick, and holds the record as the first fighter to earn stoppages via head kick, body kick, and leg kicks.
Also victorious on the main card was John Lineker, who stopped Alptekin Ozkilic in the third round, and Rick Story, who submitted Leonard Mafra with an arm triangle choke after joining the MMA Lab down in Arizona.
With that being said, it's time to name the biggest winner and loser (and their runner ups) from the event in Atlantic City.
Biggest Winner -- Donald Cerrone
In his first UFC main event, Cerrone delivered the goods.
After almost defeating Jim Miller early in the second round had it not been for referee Dan Miragliotta's incompetence, "Cowboy" became the first combatant to knock out the durable Jim Miller in the New Jersey native's 30-fight career.
Seriously, nobody does that to Miller.
Cerrone took some damage before his head kick knockout, but he shook it off and obtained his fourth finish in a row. The pride of Denver is also undefeated in 2014, finishing Miller, Barboza, and Adriano Martins in just seven months.
To top it all off, Cerrone also received his fourth consecutive post-fight bonus, which now clocks in at 14 in his combined UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) runs.
Fellow fighters could ridicule Cerrone for sucking too much whatever, but the truth is "Cowboy" is one of the division's most electric fighters. And he's always willing to throw down -- even when he gets beaten in a lopsided affair. During times like these, you need scrappers like the main event winner.
And that should be nothing short of awesome.
Runner Up -- John Lineker
Earning his first win on American soil, this is where Lineker could start fresh in UFC. But then again, we have to credit his previous performances, despite not making weight three freaking times in his Zuffa tenure.
"Hands of Stone" did everything right on Wednesday night, but his performance was far from flawless. He was getting tagged a little too much on the chin from Ozkilic, yet if his jaw could handle the pressure while maintaining good balance on his feet, a showing like that could make his bosses salivate.
This was a very important week for the Brazilian, and he did not disappoint. He made weight without any problems on Tuesday, and in a flyweight "Fight of The Year" candidate, he stopped "Turkish Delight" seconds before the end of the third round, earning his fourth stoppage by technical knockout out of five UFC victories.
After succumbing to Ali Bagautinov at UFC 169 and wasting his potential after winning four straight inside the Octagon, now is the time for Lineker to convince the brass he's ready to step up to the plate and challenge for a title.
Especially when you consider the next UFC flyweight championship bout.
Biggest Loser -- Evan Dunham
The Oregon-born combatant was once touted as a potential future champion in the lightweight division, with an undefeated (11-0) record after piling up four victories in UFC.
After his controversial loss to Sean Sherk at UFC 119, followed by his quick defeat at the hands of Melvin Guillard at UFC Fight For The Troops 2, Dunham is now 3-4 in his last seven fights, which includes a three-fight losing streak after losing to Barboza on Wednesday.
With only one win out of his past five appearances, Dunham may not even have a future with the promotion. His place in headlining fights is surely gone, and for someone who seems younger than he is (32 years old), the future looks a little desolate after his first round loss.
It's hard not to feel bad for the Xtreme Couture lightweight since he's had to face some of the best fighters in the 155-pound division. That said, if you can't beat the best, it's hard for your career to be a successful one.
Dunham could find a home on the "Prelims" or Fight Pass moving forward, since he always accepted some of the toughest match ups out there (not to mention being on the receiving end of a few questionable calls). Regardless of what could be next for him, he's going to be one of the division's mid-card fighters for the foreseeable future.
Runner Up -- Pat Healy
That's the brakes, kid.
His plodding style becomes too predictable when the fight isn't going his way, and despite his ability to slug it out against the world's best fighters, he keeps on getting the short end of the stick.
For a guy who amassed a record of 7-1 in Strikeforce, "Bam Bam" couldn't transfer over his success in the Octagon, losing his past four bouts. To make matters worse, the defining moment of his UFC career was when he originally beat Jim Miller, but the decision was overturned after Healy was caught using marijuana.
It seems like a bitter end for someone who couldn't get a win in five appearances, and to his credit, Healy would be a huge signing for an upstart promotion like World Series of Fighting (WSOF), or he could even join his old boss Scott Coker over at Bellator.
UFC just isn't the place for him at the moment, just like Jessamyn Duke, who also lost badly on the under card.
That just about does it.
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