Two of the most exciting fighters on the UFC roster capped off an action-packed Atlantic City card on Wednesday night that featured six stoppages in the six scheduled televised fights.
In the main event, New Jersey fighter Jim Miller pleased the Atlantic City audience by wrestling Donald Cerrone to the ground and holding his own on his feet to capture the first round. But the Cowboy came back strong in the second frame. Cerrone downed Miller with a front kick to the gut that referee Dan Miragliotta initially misjudged a low blow but upon realizing his error quickly ordered a restart.
The respite seemed to save Miller from a stoppage. But Cowboy’s kicks kept coming. Miller, damaged from an accumulation of knees and kicks to the body, dropped his hands for protection. Cerrone capitalized by going to the head. A high kick connected shin bone to temple that sent Miller down and Miragliotta right after him for a merciful halt.
Lightweight Cerrone vowed to take on all comers at 155 and 170. But postfight Cerrone put his mind most on partying rather than fighting. “I’m excited about drinking a bunch of Budweiser tonight,” he told Fox Sports 1 interviewer Jon Anik, “and going after it.”
The UFC’s return to New Jersey made up for the promotion’s dud card (covered live by Breitbart Sports) six-months ago. Whereas Super Bowl weekend’s UFC 169 set a record in ten fights going to the scorecards, UFC Fight Night in Atlantic City witnessed nine of eleven fights decided by the fighters instead of the judges.
Perhaps the most electrifying of which (until the main event) was Edson Barboza’s finish of Evan Dunham with a Bas Ruten-style liver kick in the co-feature.
Welterweight Rick Story scored takedowns at will against Leonardo Mafra Texeira before finding an arm-triangle choke that lured a tap from the Brazilian in the second round. Story’s submission stood as the lone non-strikes stoppage on the card.
Flyweights John Lineker and Alptekin Özkiliç fought a rock-’em-sock-’em-robots brawl for nearly three rounds until Lineker’s power overwhelmed the Turkish Delight with ten seconds remaining in the bout. Featherweights Lucas Martins and Alex White split the first two rounds before the Brazilian clocked the American into a dazed, delayed-effect knockdown followed up by obligatory hammerfists to coax a third-man intervention. Lightweight Joe Proctor endured a massive hematoma between his ear and his temple that recalled Hasim Rahman’s grotesque blood-bump against Evander Holyfield. But the Joe Lauzon-product inflicted damage of his own upon Justin Salas, who succumbed to punches in the second round.
Donald Cerrone’s victory puts him on a four-fight winning streak and at 24-6 overall. A rumored fight against the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov would put the winner in line for a title shot at lightweight.