Welcome aboard for another mid-week UFC – this one titled UFC Fight Night 45: Cowboy vs. Miller, and featuring (of course) Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone against New Jersey native Jim Miller in the main event. A ton of intriguing matchups pepper the undercard, such as Edson Barboza vs. Evan Dunham and Aljamain Sterling vs. Hugo Viana, so it should be an evening packed with action.
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Prelim bout result (UFC Fight Pass)
-Claudia Gadelha vs. Tina Lahdemaki
Round 1: As the first strawweights to ever compete in the Octagon, these ladies waste no time stepping up to each other and begin throwing leather. The Brazilian Gadelha finds her range first, tagging her foe repeatedly with a left hook, and then she delivers a series of knees that forces Lahdemaki to go horizontal. Gadelha ground-and-pounds her for a bit, and transitions to employing the full range of her world-class jiu-jitsu, eventually working to the Finnish woman’s back and threaten with a choke. The last minute of the round is all about Lahdemaki struggling to survive until the horn.
Round 2: Despite her dire straits in the prior round, Lahdemaki is undaunted and comes out banging. But Gadelha scoops her up and slams her down at about a minute in, and the grappling phase (of which the Brazilian is queen) resumes. It takes Lahdemaki two minutes to disentangle herself, and though Gadelha is still landing harder, she’s breathing heavy and seems much less spry as her opponent.
Round 3: Gadelha continues with her powerful Muay Thai striking, and Lahdemaki keeps bouncing around throwing kicks and landing counters. Just when the momentum appears to be swinging Lahdemaki’s favor though, Gadelha nails an inside-trip takedown, and the bout is once more about the Brazilian working her magic from top position. The bout ends with the ladies on the ground, and Gadelha the clear winner via decision.
Result: Claudia Gadelha def. Tina Lahdemaki via Unanimous Decision
Prelim bout results (FOX Sports 1)
-Yosdenis Cedeno vs. Jerrod Sanders
Round 1: It’s a tentative first 30 seconds for the opener, but then like a lightning strike these two are suddenly crackling and electric. First Sanders throws a kick, and Cedeno catches hit and plants a fist in his face that sends Sanders to the canvas. They scramble furiously and Sanders nails the takedown, and Cedeno uses a leglock attempt to sweep his way into top position. What follows is pretty methodical grappling, with Cedeno occasionally dropping bombs whenever he has space.
Sanders limping back to his corner prompts an immediate inspection by the doctor, and when she determines that Sanders cannot walk on his own, she waves the bout off.
Result: Yosdenis Cedeno def. Jerrod Sanders via TKO (Doc stoppage due to knee injury) at 5:00, R1
-Aljamain Sterling vs. Hugo Viana
Round 1: Bantamweight Sterling opens up by throwing kicks and Viana answers by trying to take his head off with big punches. After a minute and a half Sterling flexes his wrestling muscle, and with the Brazilian against the cage, he works into top position and blasts him again and again in the face. Viana works back upright, and after a bit of fence-grappling they resume throwing strikes. The round ends with the American going for funky spinning kicks and Viana returning fire with leg- and body-kicks.
Round 2: Sterling continues to throw flashy kicks from outside, and mixes in some clinch-work and wrestling to keep Viana guessing. But Viana starts to land his counters more and more, so the American ups his takedown intensity and gets the Brazilian down against the cage. Sterling works his way to Viana’s back, and with just a little over 30 seconds left is threatening with a choke. Viana survives to the horn.
Round 3: Sterling goes back to what works, and that’s his ground game, so Viana is soon on his back once more struggling to get out from under the superior grappler. After two minutes Sterling is in mount, and he pours on the rainstorm of punches that eventually forces the ref to step in.
Result: Aljamain Sterling def. Hugo Viana via TKO (Punches) at 3:50, R3
-Jessamyn Duke vs. Leslie Smith
Round 1: Duke immediately tries to establish her jab – a “no brainer” given her height and reach advantage – so Smith puts her forearms up and walks her down, throwing kicks and combos whenever she gets in range. Smith is the far superior striker in the equation, and when about two and a half minutes have elapsed, she traps Duke against the cage and unleashes with a flurry that includes body blows that drop the taller fighter. The referee jumps in and calls it.
Result: Leslie Smith def. Jessamyn Duke via TKO (Strikes) at 2:24, R1
-Pat Healy vs. Gleison Tibau
Round 1: With about 1,000 fights between them, the veteran Tibau and Healy start off content to probe each other with punches, and Tibau scores first with a right hand. Healy keeps his cool, however, and remains patient as he follows the Brazilian around the cage. Tibau uses that forward motion to time a perfect double-leg takedown, and he mixes ground and pound with guard passing. The round ends with them on their feet.
Round 2: Tibau comes out and lands a spinning backfist, and follows it up with another takedown that lands him in Healy’s half-guard. It takes some doing, but Healy eventually works to the cage and back to his feet, and they resume striking. Because he’s coming forward with his head down, Healy is open to repeated counters as Tibau circles away, and that’s pretty much the story of the rest of the round.
Round 3: The American turns up the pressure and does his best to wither his foe with punches and cage-wrestling, but Tibau keeps his wits about him and circles while countering. He even manages a nice high-amplitude double-leg, and although Healy scrambles back up, the message is clear: the only way Healy can win is via stoppage, and Tibau ain’t stopping.
Result: Gleison Tibau def. Pat Healy via Unanimous Decision
Main card results (FOX Sports 1)
-Lucas Martins vs. Alex White
Round 1: It takes about five seconds for these guys to engage, and they do via blistering right hands and some not-quite-good-enough head movement. Martins lands first and frequently, putting the American on the defensive, but once he clears the cobwebs he throws a bit more intelligently. Still, Martins feeds him fist after fist, and the round clearly goes to the Brazilian.
Round 2: Martins’ Muay Thai continues to be vicious, and although his pace slows a bit, he remains the more effective striker of the two. For the next three and a half minutes White is in the driver’s seat, but White nails him with a spinning backfist and he stumbles, thereby making this one way more competitive than the last.
Round 3: White attempts to come on strong, and maybe if he’d known any defense that would’ve yielded results, but no, his poor head movement has him eating a huge right hand that sends him tumbling to Earth. Martins finishes him with hammerfists for the TKO.
Result: Lucas Martins def. Alex White via KO (Punches) at 2:08, R3
-John Lineker vs. Alptekin Ozkilic
Round 1: Lineker looks to bring his powerful hands into play early, and he does – prompting Ozkilic to get him down after a minute and a half and try to get something going on the ground. It takes about 60 seconds for the Brazilian to work his way back to his feet, and he switches tactics by firing off uppercuts to keep the Turk at bay. Lineker ends up getting a takedown of his own, and the horn sounds with them on their feet.
Round 2: Lineker’s uppercuts enable Ozkilic to land some left hooks, but as the stand-up battle goes deeper and deeper into the round, it’s clear Lineker is racking up the majority of the points. To seal the deal, the Brazilian nails a takedown before the horn.
Round 3: Pure, unbridled aggression on the part of Lineker almost has Ozkilic crumbling, but he weathers the storm, and the shot-for-shot contest resumes. Body blow after blow blow starts taking its toll, and Ozkilic starts looking like he’s moving through molasses. He stays in it, regardless, and the final minute looks like the end of a “Rocky” flick – only Lineker manages to drop Ozkilic and earn the TKO.
Result: John Lineker def. Alptekin Ozkilic via TKO (Punches) at 4:51, R3
-Joe Proctor vs. Justin Salas
Round 1: Proctor and Salas need about a minute and fifteen seconds of swinging hard and hitting nothing before they get their range down and begin to connect, but when they do, it’s Proctor with a counter left hook and Salas with an overhand right – over and over again. The round ends with Proctor growing a huge hematoma over his right ear.
Round 2: Proctor’s expanding hematoma doesn’t show any signs of abating. Meanwhile, the two fighters run around and tag each other, with Proctor stunning Salas twice in the latter half of the round. That’s enough for the ref, who jumps in when Salas is doing the Funky Chicken while eating fists.
Result: Joe Proctor def. Justin Salas via TKO (Punches) at 3:27, R2
-Leonardo Mafra vs. Rick Story
Round 1: Mafra proves to be pretty dangerous with his accurate striking early on, so at about a minute in Story flips the script and goes for a takedown, putting Mafra down against the cage. The American uses that time to drop bombs, and when Mafra escapes back to his feet Story just takes him down again. That’s the “Story” of the round.
Round 2: A huge double-leg has Story once more on top, and Round 2 picks up where Round 1 left off. The difference this time is Story’s ability to snag Mafra’s shoulder, which he uses to snag a head/arm choke that forces Mafra to tap.
Result: Rick Story def. Leonardo Mafra via Submission (Head/Arm Choke) at 2:12, R2
-Edson Barboza vs. Evan Dunham
Round 1: Cognizant of his opponent’s striking prowess, Dunham flits about in an attempt to remain a moving target, occasionally leaping in to throw leather. Barboza is still able to tag him – with a leg-kick here and combo there – but the it’s all over when the Brazilian smokes him with a liver kick that forces the American to go fetal and eat unanswered punches.
Result: Edson Barboza def. Evan Dunham via TKO (Punches) at 3:06, R1
-Jim Miler vs. Donald Cerrone
Round 1: As expected, these two are out to bang, and it begins with Cerrone plugging knees to Miller’s body right down the middle and Miller mixing punches with takedowns. Cowboy does a masterful job of getting back to his feet once taken down, and as the round wears on his knees begin to take a toll. The horn sounds with them slugging it out.
Round 2: Cerrone sees great success with some front kicks to the body, one of which crumples Miller but has referee Dan Miragliotta thinking it was a groin shot. They restart, and Cerrone stalks his foe until he finds Miller’s neck with his shin and that’s all she wrote.
Result Donald Cerrone def. Jim Miller via KO (Kick) at 3:31, R2
Front-Page Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports