He may not be a pay-per-view behemoth, but Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has got fans, and he earned each and every one of them with blood, sweat and tears. But the years and their cruel toll have made wins harder to come by, putting the UFC in a tough spot with their fan-favorite star: Do they give him easy fights? Or do they let up-and-comers make their own names off his fading legend?

For the main event of UFC Fight Night 126, they’ve done neither. Instead, they’ve pitted him against a veteran with a good bit of upside in Yancy Medeiros, who will swing hard and play to Cowboy’s strengths, and just as easily win as lose.

If the weigh-ins told us anything, it’s that love and respect abound with these two, and it’s apparent once they step into the cage.

Oh sure, Cowboy has his game face on, and Medeiros is pulling no punches (or kicks) in the exchanges, but when the Hawaiian slips and tumbles to the canvas, Cerrone doesn’t pounce; he lets Medeiros up, and the two share a grin and a hug.

But they’re swinging hard after that, and though at first it seems like Cerrone is having trouble gauging Medeiros’ timing, eventually he starts clipping him. One such punch lands square on Medeiros’ noggin’, forcing him to do the Funky Chicken before face-planting. This time Cerrone does pounce, and the ensuing storm of punches has the referee stepping in mere moments before the end of the round.

Cowboy has finally gotten another win.

 

Results: Donald Cerrone def. Yancy Medeiros via TKO (Punches) at 4:48, R1