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Bonus Watch! Potential UFC Fight Night 45 award winners

The UFC heads to New Jersey for UFN 45, bringing fight fans an excellent midweek card with fun fights throughout. Before the action begins, take a look at the special fighters and fights from the FOX Sports 1-televised event who have the potential to haul in one or more of UFC's new performance-based bonuses.


Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans are treated to a very solid mid-week Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) card when UFC Fight Night 45 airs live from from Revel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., later this evening (Weds., July 16, 2014).

The FOX Sports 1-televised card is headlined by Top 10-ranked Lightweight standouts, Donald Cerrone and Jim Mille, who will face off in what could be a telling clash for their respective futures in the division. The event will be co-headlined by another 155-pound fight between Muay Thai ace Edson Barboza and the always exciting Evan Dunham.

Now, let's take a look at some of the fights and fighters who will be most likely to earn some bonus cash for their extra efforts at this event:

Donald Cerrone vs. Jim Miller: These two guys are immensely skilled fighters, but neither one of them forgoes crowd-pleasing gameplans in the interest of winning boring fights. Cerrone has a slick Muay Thai game, while Miller is a respectable striker with a grinding gas tank. Both men are terrific at fighting on the mat. This is certainly a main event worth watching, and it will probably be a thrilling contest that has all the potential to score "Fight of the Night" honors.

Edson Barboza vs Evan Dunham: Both of these guys are very fun and interesting to watch. Barboza is a very skilled Muay Thai practitioner, whereas Dunham is a sort of crowd pleasing jack of all trades. Barboza is a fearsome opponent, but far from unbeatable, and Dunham will give him a hell of a fight. Though the oddsmakers disagree, I think this is a toss up, and one that will be very exciting to watch.

Rick Story (Fighting Leonardo Mafra Texeira): I'm not all that big a fan of Story, but the guy has made his name off being a very imposing, physical opponent. Fighting a guy who was already one and done in UFC on his previous tenure, and who also came in five pounds under the 170 pound weight limit, I just can't see "The Horror" doing anything but bad things in utterly dominant fashion, probably getting himself a technical knockout win at some point.

John Lineker (Fighting Alptekin Ozkilic): Lineker is a pretty well-acclaimed prospect in the Flyweight division, his biggest struggle being with the weight cut to 125 pounds. Now that he's made the weight, Ozkilic is not a fighter who I see giving him much trouble at all, and I think Lineker will turn his lights out rather swiftly for a potential "Performance of the Night" bonus.

Aljamain Sterling (Fighting Hugo Viana): Sterling is a hot prospect in the Bantamweight division. And with a solid all-around game, as well as a terrific fight team backing him up, he will shine in these types of fights. Viana is a strong competitor, but I don't think he matches up well with his more youthful and athletic opponent. Expect Sterling to win this fight impressively.

And that wraps it up.

This is a show that will definitely be worth watching from top to bottom with a main card that is packed with action fights. This is a very strong free fight card in a time where some events are criticized for being watered down, one that will certainly be fun to watch in the middle of the week.

Bring on the bonuses!