A different Donald Cerrone showed up in Las Vegas.
The elite kickboxer morphed into a Brazilian jiu jitsu ace by dominating Myles Jury in the first round of their co-feature through an unexpected grappling display that resulted in attempts at an omoplata, a rear-naked choke, and an armbar.
The uncharacteristic nature of the Cowboy bout continued, albeit in a different direction, as the crowd closed the second round with boos after a cautious frame on the feet.
The real Cowboy finally stood up in the final round. Cerrone reddened welts on Jury’s legs. He landed a highlight-reel kick to the undefeated fighter’s head. He ended the fight with a violent flurry of soccer kicks to his opponent’s legs as laid helplessly on his back.
The scorecards showed Cerrone winning every round and extending his winning streak to six.
Brad Tavares and Nate Marquardt traded front kicks in the first round of their main-card bout. The Hawaiian negated the seven-time King of Pancrase’s takedowns, including spectacularly transforming an attempted single-leg into a throw, imposed brutal leg kicks on his opponent, and relied on an effective jab to control the second stanza. Marquardt scored with a nice combination in the third but did little else as the younger man continued to rely on the jab and leg kicks to cruise to a shutout victory.
Kyoji Horiguchi used quick hands and feet to outclass Louis Gaudinot to a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 unanimous decision. The Japanese flyweight improved to 15-1.
Hector Lombard hurt a game and crafty Josh Burkman in the second round of a fight in which the Cuban ball of muscle paced himself to a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 unanimous-decision victory. The Olympic judoka makes it three of three at welterweight and moves his record to a gaudy 34-4.
The preliminary fights eclipsed the main card fights in excitement.
Cowboy Cerrone protégé Paul Felger’s knockout spinning backfist against favorite Danny Castillo put a big exclamation point on a statement fight announcing the lightweight as an exciting, multifaceted mixed-martial artist to watch.
Cody Garbrandt put Marcus Brimmage out on his feet and then out on the ground before coaxing a stoppage with ten ticks left in their bantamweight tilt. Shawn Jordan clipped Jared Cannonier in the back of the head to score a first-round knockout win.
Evan Dunham and Rodrigo Damm put on a classic three-round slugfest with Dunham consistently beating the Brazilian to the punch. Damm continued to demonstratively call in Dunham for the brawl in the final frame before the judges awarded the American the unanimous nod.