Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweights Donald Cerrone and John Makdessi dueled last night (May 23, 2015) at UFC 187 inside the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Cerrone was supposed to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov in an undoubted title eliminator scrap. Unfortunately, the Dagestani combatant was forced to withdraw due to an injury, so Cerrone wound up with a late notice replacement.
And that's usually the "Cowboy's" job.
While Makdessi entered this bout as a major underdog, it was a huge opportunity for the Karate-style striker. If he managed to take out Cerrone, Makdessi's stock would skyrocket.
Cerrone, as expected, opened the bout with some kicks. Before long, a switch high kick shook Makdessi up, but he stayed on his feet. Makdessi was bouncing forward with some nice jabs to the body and head, but overall Cerrone's kicks were more effective and continued to land cleanly.
The final two minutes of the round were much closer, though Cerrone still held the advantage. Both men ate some solid shots, but neither was willing to give the other an inch.
Cerrone really got active to start the second round, as he landed with multiple punching combinations. Additionally, "Cowboy" just kept punishing his opponent's leg with kicks, as Makdessi's lead leg was starting to change colors.
Outside of some body jabs and hooks while Cerrone looked for the clinch, Cerrone basically had his way with his opponent. He landed countless low kicks, some sharp punches, and even a nice selection of knees and elbows.
Suddenly, Cerrone's second switch high kick of the night landed. Makdessi backed away and seemed conscious, but he then waved off the bout. The strike had broken Makdessi's jaw, and "The Bull" took it into his own hands to end the fight.
Not a bad choice, as Cerrone was clearly in control. Makdessi had already proven his heart but getting punched in a broken jaw is not a pleasant experience.
This was pretty classic "Cowboy." His boxing defense got him touched up a bit, but his offensive output was incredible. In particular, Cerrone's switch high kick -- perhaps his most used technique -- was on point and finished the fight.
It was also nice to see Cerrone avoid his usual slow start. Against the absolute best fighters in the world, that will cost him dearly.
Speaking of, Cerrone will be taking on the very best in his next fight, as he should be given the next title shot. His initial match with Raphael dos Anjos was an entertaining upset, and now "Cowboy" will look to even the score.
Unfortunately for Makdessi, Cerrone was simply better. Maybe he does better with a full camp, but Makdessi appeared to settle into his rhythm and perform well.
It just wasn't enough.
After taking this bout on short notice, Makdessi deserves an opponent with a decent name. For example, Jim Miller may not be at the top of the division anymore, but he would provide an entertaining challenge to the Tristar-trained fighter.
At UFC 187, Donald Cerrone picked apart and finished John Makdessi. Can the "Cowboy" win a UFC title?
For complete UFC 187 "Cormier vs Johnson" results and play-by-play, click HERE!