Fight fans! Your friends at ZUFFA are giving you a little mid-week treat today.
UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Miller, otherwise known as UFC Fight Night 45, is on — from the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The main event features two fighters ranked at or near the top ten in the lightweight division in Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Jim Miller.
If you can’t watch, please join us here for a full play-by-play account of the night’s bouts. Hit your refresh key for the latest update. Thank you for joining us!
Preliminary card (UFC Fight Pass)
Women’s Strawweights: Cláudia Gadelha vs. Tina Lähdemäki
This is the UFC’s first ever women’s strawweight bout. Finland’s Lähdemäki is the biggest underdog on the card at (+400) — she’s 5-0 in MMA and noted as having a boxing background. Brazil’s “Cláudinha” is yet another Nova Uniao standout, a former BJJ world champ (brown belt) and among the top five in the world at her weight in MMA at 11-0.
Round One: They exchange 1-2’s, Gadelha with a good right. Left hook from Gadelha lands in two exchanges, then a left hook. Lähdemäki is whipped to the mat from the Thai neck vise. She scrambles back up but Gadelha slams her down with a double leg. Punches to head and body in Lähdemäki’s guard. Gadelha stands and hits a leg kick. Gadelha with a standing guard pass, but Lähdemäki gets half guard. Gadelha to mount. Lähdemäki rolls and Gadelha gets back mount. Some big punches here! Gadelha lookiing for the choke. Lähdemäki hanging on and attacking the hands as time expires. 10-9, Gadelha.
Round Two: Gadelha with her left hooks in standing exchange. Lähdemäki’s finally gets a solid combination in, and another. Gadelha gets a neck clinch again, switches to a double leg, and slams Lähdemäki to the mat. Gadelha working in Lähdemäki’s guard — Lähdemäki scrambles to her feet but Gadelha gets her back. Not enough action though, and the ref seperates them. Re-start, and Gadelha lands a 1-2 combo. Lähdemäki’s hits a right, but Gadelha gets knees in the clinch. Gadelha slowing a bit. Lähdemäki bloodies Gadelha with a right. Good punching exchanges to finish with Lähdemäki getting the better of it as the round closes. 10-9, Gadelha.
Round Three: Gadelha southpaw now, lands a left and a kick to the body. Back to orthodox, she shoots in for a takedown but is shrugged off. Good leg kick from Lähdemäki but Gadelha hits a solid right. Good 1-2 from Gadelha. Left hook from Gadelha, and a leg kick. Gadelha with a nice inside trip! Lähdemäki in half guard, Gadelha hitting punches to head and body. Lähdemäki re-positions to closed guard nicely. Lähdemäki scrambles to her feet and both exchange combo’s — ending with solid body kicks. Great, great fight. 10-9, Gadelha.
Decision is in:
Cláudia Gadelha defeats Tina Lähdemäki by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27).
Preliminary card (Fox Sports 1)
Lightweights: Yosdenis Cedeno vs. Jerrod Sanders
Cuban-American Cedeno is noted for his karate. Sanders, a -160 favorite despite being a late replacement here, was a collegiate wrestling standout.
Round One: Leg kick from Cedeno. Huge right from Cedeno as Sanders goes for a kick! Sanders down. Cedeno follows with punches but Sanders rolls away. Sanders in on a single leg… and finally gets Cedeno down after a brief struggle. Cedeno entangles a leg and rocks back for a leglock, then rolls Sanders in a sweep. Nice move. Sanders in butterfly guard now. Heavy punches from Cedeno. Sanders in half guard, Cedeno trying to keep position and avoid a scramble. More punches and knees as time expires. 10-9, Cedeno.
Sanders struggling to get to his feet between rounds but eventually limps to his corner. Doctor stops it when Sanders can’t get his feet again after sitting in the corner. It’s unclear when the injury happened. Leg kick? On the sweep? Replays don’t show it, either.
Yosdenis Cedeno defeats Jerrod Sanders by TKO (fighter retirement) at 5:00 of round one.
Bantamweights: Hugo “Wolverine” Viana vs. Aljamain Sterling
8-2 Hugo “Wolverine” is a TUF Brazil alum and a Muay Thai specialist. Undefeated at 9-0, the 24 year old “Funkmaster” Sterling is from NY and gets a nice ovation; he has a good all-around game with some unorthodox kicks and overall athleticism. Sterling is a -200 favorite here.
Round One: Sterling with a kick to the body and a leg. Big “Wolverine” right hand sends Sterlin to the mat, but he was off balance, trying to kick again, and bounces back up. Both guys bouncing in and out, “Wolverine” with another overhand right. Sterling shoots in, gets a takedown. Sterling looks for mount, “Wolverine” scrambles up, Sterling looking for the back and landing right hands in the clinch. Knee to the body from Sterling as “Wolverine” gets to his feet. More Sterling knees in the clinch as they’re pressed to the cage. “wolverine” finally escapes and they’re center Octagon. Glancing head kick from Sterling. “Wolverine” looking a little confused, eats a leg kick as time expires. 10-9 Sterling.
Round Two: Sterling misses a wild head kick. “Wolverine” with a nice body kick. Sterling clinches him against the cage. “Wolverine” escapes but is hit with a knee to the body. Sterling with a double leg, “Wolverine” defends well off his guard but is hit with another knee to the body as he scrambles to his feet. Big double from Sterling. Sterling working to knee on belly, then to the back with one hook. He works for two hooks, then body triangle, as he looks for the choke. Good punches to close out the round. 10-9, Sterling.
Round Three: Sterling with a front kick and a single leg shot, rolling “Wolverine” to the mat. He passes to side but gets trapped in half guard. Matt Serra yelling with every move from his charge Sterling. Big elbow from Sterling. Sterling gets mount. Big punches to head and body. Hammer-fists end it and the ref steps in.
Dominant win for Sterling who looks like Serra/Longo’s next star. Good strikes, takedowns, adept with positioning and tactics — and backed up by excellent conditioning.
Aljamain Sterling defeats Hugo “Wolverine” Viana by TKO (ref stoppage/punches) at 3:50 of round three.
Women’s Bantamweights: Jessamyn Duke vs. Leslie Smith
3-1 Duke is 5’11” and a Rousey protégé — one of her “Four Horsewomen.” 6-5-1 Smith, of the Cesar Gracie camp, was an Invicta regular. She’s a -135 favorite here. Both are kind of middling in the bantam division — and both are coming off losses. Not nearly as interesting a bout as the other women’s bout on the card on paper, but we’ll see.
Round One: Smith with a good 1-2 inside of Duke’s jab. Duke with an inside leg kick, moving laterally much better than her last bout. Good right from Smith. Duke with a front kick to the body. Inside leg kick, overhand right/left hook combo from Smith. Big left hook to the body backs Duke up, and a flurry of hand combo’s stuns Duke. Knee to the head and more punches, ending with another left hook to the body. Duke just crumbles, and the ref steps in.
Nice TKO win for Smith who shows a dynamic striking game. In her last two appearances, Duke has looked like she really doesn’t belong in the UFC. Fun seeing Jongsanan “Woodenman” (Fairtex) in Smith’s corner — pretty good guy to learn Muay Thai from.
Leslie Smith defeats Jessamyn Duke by TKO (punches) at 2:24 of round one.
Lightweights: Gleison Tibau vs. Pat Healy
Two “veteran’s veterans” here, with almost 100 fights between them: Tibau is 37-10, Healy is 31-18. Oregon’s Healy defeated Jim Miller only to have the result switched to a no-contest due to a failed drug test — generally, I wouldn’t feel bad for the guy, but the drug responsible was marijuana he smoked weeks earlier. Tough break. ATT standout Tibau has 21 Octagon appearances and, like Healy, is huge at this weight. Tibau is a -160 favorite.
Round One: Inside leg kick from Tibau and big overhand lefts from the southpaw Tibau. Tibau moving much quicker than Healy, darting and circling. Another left/leg kick from Tibau. Big double leg slam from Tibau. Healy gets half guard, then closed guard. Good punches to the head from Tibau. Healy struggling to get to his feet and finally makes it with less than a minute left. They exchange to little effect until the bell. 10-9 Tibau.
Round Two: Spinning back fist from Tibau. Tibau with an effortless-looking double leg takedown. Healy absorbing punches to the head in half guard. Healy scrambles against the cage and back to his feet. Healy keeps moving straight forward and Tibau easily moving around him and hitting the better shots. Tibau with straight lefts, uppercuts, and threatening the takedown. Healy finally pins Tibau against the cage and lands a few. Healy mixing it up now, coming in with some body and head shots and landing better. Tibau going defensive as time expires. Close, but I’ll go 10-9, Tibau.
Round Three: Healy keeping the pressure on with straight punching, and Tibau getting slower and sloppier. Big punches to the body as Healy presses Tibau against the cage. Elbow to the face from Healy. Tibau finally is able to circle away. Nice 1-2 from Healy forces Tibau back to the cage. Little shots from both guys. Tibau sneaks in a big uppercut. Two minutes left. Sloppy exchanges with Healy out-landing Tibau. Tibau with a big double leg, but Healy goes belly-down and bounces right back to his feet. Tibau pushing Healy to the cage now, lands some nice punches before the bell. 10-9, Healy. But this could go either way.
Gleison Tibau defeats Pat Healy by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Main Card (Fox Sports 1)
Featherweights: Lucas Martins vs. Alex White
Both guys are southpaws aged 25, and have similar experience. Missouri’s White is known for his strong punching — he’s 10-0 and a -145 favorite. Brazil’s Martins is 14-0 and listed as a Muay Thai specialist.
Round One: Martins switches to orthodox after a brief exchange and hits a big left hook. White is staggered and hit by another big left to the body. Good body kick from Martins — stalking White now. Martins tagging White every time he tries to move forward in response, usually a jab or left hook. Nice 1-2 and a big elbow by Martins. Martins moving away from White’s punches and mixing up the counters. Martins in southpaw stance, rocks White with a straight left. Back to orthodox, Martins with a missed high kick then a big liver shot. 10-9 Martins.
Round Two: Slower action here. White showing more lateral movement but still mostly getting beat to the punch. Good inside leg kick from Martins. Good right hand lands from Martins. Front kick to the body from White. White throwing punches and moving now, landing only occasionally but it’s an improvement. Nice 1-2 from White. Spinning back fist staggers Martins but White fails to capitalize. Martins backs him up with punching combo’s. Good right from White right before the horn. 10-9, White.
Round Three: White moving in looking for wild punches. Nice straight right from Martins. More of the same with Martins slowing down. BOOM! Martins hits a big right hand that knocks White to the mat. Martins follows with hammer-fists and it’s over.
Flyweights: John Lineker vs. Alptekin Özkiliç
Hard-punching Lineker is notorious for missing weight but seemed to have no problem at all yesterday. He’s 23-7 in MMA and a -225 favorite here. 9-2 in his MMA career, “Turkish Delight” Özkiliç is a former 2x All-American wrestler.
Round One: Both bouncing in and out. Lineker with a big right. Lineker misses a 3-2 combo. Özkiliç moves under a Lineker right and gets deep on a takedown. Lineker defends well but is rolled to the mat. Lineker in half guard. Lineker scrambles to his feet. Özkiliç with a nice straight right and uppercut, backing away from the power shots from Lineker. Lineker with big roundhouse shots, glancing Özkiliç. Takedown from Lineker, but Özkiliç right back up. 10-9 Lineker.
Round Two: Özkiliç trying to avoid the big roundhouse punches, gets a counter left hook in. Lineker with a big right, backs Özkiliç up. Lineker working an uppercut into his combo’s. Özkiliç shrugs off a Lineker takedown. Good inside leg kick from Özkiliç. Jab from Lineker. Big body punch combo’s back Özkiliç up. Leg kick from Lineker. Hand combo’s continue with Lineker’s superior power coming out on top. 10-9 Lineker.
Round Three: Lineker picking up the pace with his combo’s now, big shots to head and body. A left hook to the body as Özkiliç was against the face almost drops him to a knee. Lineker shrugs off a takedown. More big shots and Özkiliç is bloodied at the mouth and possibly eyes. Özkiliç still looking for the takedown, a low single — but no dice. Left hook/straight right combo from Lineker. Big overhand right from Özkiliç and the two high-five. Crowd going nuts as the two swing away. Right hand to the body followed by a left hook to the chin finally drops Özkiliç, and the ref steps in.
John Lineker defeats Alptekin Özkiliç by TKO (punches) at 4:51 of round three.
Lightweights: Justin Salas vs. Joe Proctor
Wyoming’s Salas is 12-5, New England’s Proctor is 9-2. Guys seem a mirror image of one another and this fight is almost even money.
Round One: Proctor with a good leg kick. He’s taking center Octagon. Salas looking to evade and counter, lands a big right hand. Good left straight counter shakes Salas. Salas bloody over his left eye. Proctor connects with a nice left hook counter as Salas tries to advance. Nice leg kick from Salas. Proctor moving around well now, connects with an inside leg kick. Salas with a nice left hook as they bounce in and out, trying to connect. Salas fails with a double leg. Both guys bloodied as the final horn sounds. It’s close, but Proctor with the better overall striking. 10-9, Proctor.
Round Two: Proctor taking center Octagon and throwing combo’s. Salas counters with a right and good knee to the body. Proctor catches Salas with a left hook. Salas with a double leg, but Proctor fights right back to his feet. Hand combo’s going back and forth. Salas with a nice inside leg kick. Proctor with a big left hook to drop Salas, but he bounces right back up and forces Proctor to the fence. Salas with a big left hook again! Roundhouse punches as Salas turtles up — and the fight is stopped.
Joe Proctor defeats Justin Salas by TKO (punches) at 3:27 of round two.
Welterweights: Rick Story vs. Leonardo Mafra
Interesting contrast here. TUF Brazil’s Mafra has won five straight by knockout in Brazil and is 11-1 overall. A UFC vet since 2009, Story has had an up-and-down UFC career but he’s tough as nails and has never been knocked out. He’s fighting out of Ben Henderson’s camp now, and is a -320 favorite.
Round One: Nice body kick to begin from Story. Mafra rushes forward and lands some wild “Chute Boxe” classic punches. Story with a right and a double leg takedown. Good punches and elbows in Mafra’s guard from Story. Mafra scrambles up but gets taken right back down. Story with little shots in Mafra’s half guard. Mafra gets full guard, Story with elbows to the head. Mafra gets some space and gets up — eats an uppercut and is taken right back down. Dominant round for Story. Story, 10-9.
Round Two: Left hook, body kick by Mofra who is circling away from Story. Story with a single leg, Mafra escapes, Story with a big double leg slam. Story looking for the back. Story works to mount briefly. Big elbow to the face from Story in Mafra’s half guard. Story suddenly spins to a kata-gatame position and finishes the head & arm choke. Mafra taps.
Rick Story defeats Leonardo Mafra by submission (head & arm choke) at 2:48 of round two.
Lightweights: Edson “Junior” Barboza vs. Evan Dunham
13-2 Barboza is one of the most dynamic and effective kickers in MMA, and he’s got a 5″ reach advantage besides. A -255 favorite here, the Brazilian is coming off a submission loss to Donald Cerrone. His opponent, Oregon’s 14-5 Dunham, has good all-around skills and trains under Robert Follis of Extreme Couture.
Round One: Big inside leg kick from Barboza. Straight left from Dunham, left hook from Barboza. Dunham looks for a single leg but is shrugged off. 1-2 glances from Dunham. Nice left hook from Barboza as he moves backward. Barboza steps forward with a big body kick and Dunham crumbles. Barboza follows up with punches and the ref steps in.
This is the fourth “kick-related” stoppage win for Barboza, a UFC record.
Edson “Junior” Barboza defeats Evan Dunham by TKO (kick and punches) at 3:06 of round one.
Lightweights: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Jim Miller
24-4-1 Miller, officially eighth in the UFC, gets a nice ovation from his home state crowd. True to his rural roots he uses Credence Clearwater Revival for his ringwalk. 23-6-1 Cerrone, ranked #6, uses Kid Rock’s “Cowboy” and is greeted by a mix of boo’s and cheers. He’s 6’1″ to Miller’s 5’8″ and enters a -245 favorite.
Round One: Typically aggressive to begin, Miller with a strong leg kick. Big knee to the body from Cerrone as they bounce in and out. Cerrone spins out of a takedown, but gets taken down firing a kick. Cerrone scrambles to his feet. Miller tries to lean in with an elbow. Inside leg kick from Miller. Big knee to the body from Cerrone. Miller blocks a head kick. Straight right from Cerrone. Miller whips Cerrone to the mat, but Cerrone spins out to his feet. Miller slips a Cerrone right and hits a right hook. They clinch against the cage where Cerrone hits another knee. Big right from Miller. Cerrone presses Miller to the cage and hits an uppercut just before the horn. Miller just out-landed Cerrone by a little here — 10-9 Miller.
Round Two: Nice right hand by Miller. Cerrone circles away and bam! Hits a front kick to the body. Miller crumbles to the mat. Was it low? Ref has stopped the action — but, asks if Miller can continue. No five minutes given and we re-start. Replay shows it was a legal shot. Cerrone with another front kick to the body and lands a hand combo. Miller on the retreat now. Another front kick to the body. Miller with an overhand left. Bam! A head kick from Cerrone blasts Miller into unconsciousness.
This is the first time in Miller’s 30 fight career that he has been stopped with strikes.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone defeats Jim Miller by knockout (head kick) at 3:31 of round two.
And… that’s it. One hard-hitting night of fights!
Thank you for joining us!