Fight blog recap: Cowboy head kick KO’s Jim Miller to cap off finish-filled fight card

Top 10 lightweights go to war on Wednesday night on FOX Sports 1

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There are few fighters in the UFC who step up time and time again to put on a show like Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and he did his part once again by finishing Jim Miller with a thunderous head kick midway through the second round of their main event matchup.

Cerrone has been a notoriously slow starter throughout his UFC career, and Wednesday night was no different as he found himself on the wrong end of some Miller combinations and two takedowns in the first round. When the second round started it was like Cerrone woke up because he came out of the gate firing kick after kick, first nailing Miller to the body before unloading a monstrous shot to the head.

As Cerrone’s shin connected flush with Miller neck and ear, the New Jersey native crumbled to the mat and the referee swooped in to stop the fight.  The win marked Cerrone’s fourth in a row overall as he tries to get in six total fights before 2014 is over. 

He’s halfway there with this lastest win and there are still six months left to go in the year.

Also on the main card, Edson Barboza made short work of Evan Dunham with a grazing body kick that rearranged his opponent’s insides as he dropped to the mat clutching his midsection in pain.  Barboza picks up his fourth finish by kicks in the UFC — one head kick knockout, two leg kick finishes and now a body kick TKO on his record as well.

Check out the full fight blog below for play-by-play and results:

MAIN EVENT: Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone vs. Jim Miller

Round 1:

Miller cracks Cerrone with a nice overhand left to get things started. Miller catches a kick and takes Cerrone down, but he pops right back up again. Cerrone lands a straight right, but Miller gets inside for the body lock, pressing the action for another takedown. Cerrone immediately reverses and gets up again. Miller counters Cerrone’s offense with a quick right hand and now it’s Cerrone looking for the clinch.

R1 10-9 Jim Miller 

Round 2:

Cerrone throwing kicks more this round including a quick head kick but Miller blocks effectively.  Cerrone tags Miller with a kick and he drops – looks like it was low but on the replay it shows just above the belt line.  Either way the referee pauses the fight and we get a quick restart. Odd turn of events. Cerrone knows Miller is hurt and he’s still throwing that front kick and he’s got the New Jersey native reeling.  Cerrone goes high and slams his shin into Miller’s head and he drops to the canvas! Another head kick knockout for Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. Incredible.

Official result: Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone def. Jim Miller by KO (head kick) at 3:31, R2

Analysis: This is by far the best we’ve seen out of ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone since he’s been in the UFC, against the highest level of competition.  He had a typical slow start, but once he found his rhythm he opened up with his kicks and started to really punish Miller to the body before finishing him off with one to the head.  Cerrone has now gone 3-0 in 2014 and before this bout he said he wanted Khabib Nurmagomedov next and there’s no fight that makes more sense in the division than that one right now. 

Edson Barboza vs. Evan Dunham

Round 1:

Dunham slips a punch and looks for the takedown, but Barboza shrugs him off.  Barboza uncorks a hellish body kick that just crushes Dunham’s midsection and he drops to the mat like a rock. Barboza follows up with a few more strikes but the fight is over! Wow that was an incredible finish. That was Barboza’s fourth kick related finish in the UFC, the most in promotional history.

Official result: Edson Barboza def. Evan Dunham by TKO at 3:06, R1

Analysis: Edson Barboza said before this fight that he was working really hard at improving his boxing,but there’s certainly nothing wrong with his kicking game. He might have the best and most deadly kicks in the entire UFC and he showed why once again on Wednesday night. Barboza is a dangerous opponent for anyone in the lightweight top 10, he just needs that signature win to prove it.  Maybe he’ll get that in his next fight — possibly against Michael Johnson when he returns from injury? 

Rick Story vs. Leonardo Mafra

Round 1:

Mafra connects with some good shots but Story fires back before taking the fight to the mat.  Story has Mafra trapped against the cage and he’s unloading with some short, harsh elbows. Story keeps the pressure on and he’s in Mafra’s half guard.  Former lightweight champion Benson Henderson in Story’s corner, coaching him during a strong first round. Mafra is able to work up again but it takes Story no time to take him down again before the round comes to an end. Three for three on takedowns for Story according to FightTrax.

R1 10-9 Rick Story

Round 2:

Story gets a huge slam takedown less than a minute into round two. Story working inside of half guard and he’s hammering away at Mafra, who isn’t offering up much defense.  Story transitions to a head and arm choke, and slips to one side and Mafra’s had enough and that will bring an end to the fight.

Official result: Rick Story def. Leonardo Mafra by submission (head and arm choke) at 2:12, R2 

Analysis: Rick Story has always been one of the most underrated fighters in the welterweight division — don’t forget this guy has a win over Johny Hendricks!  Well now with a change of camps where he’s now working with John Crouch and The Lab in Arizona, it might be just the push he needs to get back into the top 10 of the division. Story is a threat to every welterweight and it will be interesting to see how far he can go with this new team behind him. 

Justin Salas vs. Joe Proctor

Round 1:

Salas cracks Proctor with a powerful left hand that shuts his eyes and bloodies his nose, but he recovers before any more damage can be done. Proctor fires back an opens a cut over Salas’ right eye. Proctor landing with higher accuracy now as Salas struggles to find his range.  Salas started strong, but Proctor took over after some early trouble

R1 10-9 Joe Proctor

Round 2:

Salas is still throwing fire with big power shots, but Procter putting together the better combinations. As the round wears on, Proctor connects with a counter left hand and again, putting Salas down on the mat.  Proctor jumps on top and flurries with punches and the referee drops in to call the fight off. Salas is right back on his feet and it looked like he was still digging for a takedown to defend the offense so maybe not the best stoppage by the referee.

Official result: Joe Proctor def. Justin Salas by TKO at 3:27, R2

Analysis: Joe Proctor trains with Joe Lauzon and it certainly showed in this fight as he went out there to put on a show just like his mentor.  Proctor got hurt a couple of times, but never faded and came back with a more technical attack than his opponent, which resulted in the win. The stoppages seemed a little early, but still not Proctor’s fault at all. 

John Lineker vs. Alptekin Ozkilic

Round 1:

Much like the weigh-ins on Tuesday, John Lineker just can’t stop playing with his hair. Maybe he knows he’s on camera and wants to look good?   As far as the fight goes, Lineker nailing Ozkilic with some hard, heavy shots from the outside.  Ozkilic zips in for a takedown and lands in side control. Back to the feet and Lineker is just throwing lightning with his punches. Lineker puts together a big combination that rattles Ozkilic but he fires back with one of his own before the round ends.

R1 10-9 John Lineker

Round 2:

Lineker hurts Ozkilic to open round two and staggers him a bit with a second shot just over a minute into it.  Lineker out landing Ozkilic just slightly to this point in the fight according to FightTrax, but it’s very close. Lineker just jumps forward with his uppercuts to the head and body. Lineker with another hard overhand right and another uppercut.

R2 10-9 John Lineker

Round 3:

These two are just winging punches at each other and the crowd roars in approval.  Ozkilic is hurt and he actually runs across the cage to get away from Lineker’s offensive barrage.  Ozkilic is hanging tough, but Lineker is just swinging anvils at his opponent now with each punch causing maximum damage.  Lineker is finding a home for his left hook and Ozkilic just eats it. These two are just throwing down and Lineker finally connects with a perfectly placed left hook and Ozkilic drops to the mat and that’s it! Wow what an incredible fight between these two flyweights.

Official result: John Lineker def. Alptekin Ozkilic by TKO at 4:51, R3

Analysis: This was the performance we needed to see out of John Lineker after so many weight cutting disasters plagued his early UFC career.  He came out and looked crisp all night and his power never faded all the way into the 15th minute.  Ozkilic deserves a load of credit for absorbing some of the nastiest punches ever thrown in the flyweight division. Lineker still has to prove he can do this consistently but with another win or two he should be right back on the path to a title shot in the flyweight division. 

Alex White vs. Lucas Martins

Round 1:

White blasts Martins with a big right hook and Martins fires back with a heavy left that staggers his opponent.  Martins is countering everything White throws with some serious power.  White looks for combinations, but Martins is just hitting him at will while he’s coming forward. Martins even lands a short elbow that rattles White’s jaw.  Martins looks great so far but White is impossibly tough and refuses to go away

R1 10-9 Lucas Martins

Round 2:

White is the aggressor this round and Martins isn’t throwing much of anything to counter this time around. Did his cut to 145 zap the energy from his body? Martins is able to open a cut over White’s right eye. White tags Martins and then unloads a huge spinning back fist that drops the Brazilian to his butt. He pops up but he was definitely wobbled. Martins shoots for a takedown, which is a sure sign he was hurt for at least a moment or two.

R2 10-9 Alex White

Round 3:

Martins is throwing more to open up the third round but White isn’t backing down. Martins pops White with a straight right and White stumbles and falls to the mat. Martins follows up as White eats a couple of hammer fists before the referee can swoop in for the save. Impressive finish for Lucas Martins.

Officials result: Lucas Martins def. Alex White by TKO at 2:08, R3

Analysis: Lucas Martins seems to have found his perfect home in the UFC after competing in three different weight classes since coming to the promotion.  Martins’ striking was on point all night, especially countering White’s aggressive offense. He slowed a bit in the second but showed new life in the third before getting the finish. He hands White his first career loss as he picks up his third win in a row overall. 

Gleison Tibau vs. Pat Healy

Round 1:

Gleison Tibau is actually the smaller fighter in this one – chances are you’ll never hear that again. Tibau looking good with his hands, cracking Healy with some great punches from the outside.  Tibau slips under and takes Healy to the mat. Tibau has over two minutes in control so far according to FightTrax.  Tibau lets Healy up just before the round comes to an end

R1 10-9 Gleison Tibau

Round 2:

Tibau opens with a huge spinning back first that lands flush, but Healy just eats it. Tibau gets another takedown at 30 seconds into the round.  Tibau working to keep Healy down, but he gets back up against the cage. Tibau has out landed Healy in strikes 61-29. Healy working some inside leg kicks and he shoots for a takedown, but Tibau blocks him and stands it back up in the center.

R2 10-9 Gleison Tibau

Round 3:

The fighters are swinging heavy at each other to start the final round and Healy is finally able to put the pressure on Tibau to get the clinch against the cage. Healy’s strikes are finding a home more and more this round, but Tibau isn’t fading either. Tibau hits a nice uppercut and a huge takedown to put Healy down but they are back up within seconds. Healy out landing Tibau this round with his strikes but time is ticking away.

R3 10-9 Pat Healy

FOX Sports scores the fight 29-28 Gleison Tibau

Official result: Gleison Tibau def. Pat Healy by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Analysis: Tibau’s striking looked better than ever before and that’s saying something considering he’s been in the UFC for over 20 fights at this point in his career. He also broke the record for most wins in the history of the UFC lightweight division (14).  The loss drops Pat Healy to 0-4 in his last four bouts and it’s hard to imagine he’ll get to come back for a fifth chance, which is disappointing because he’s still one of the toughest outs in the entire division

Jessamyn Duke vs. Leslie Smith

Round 1:

Duke using her range, but Smith is firing off some powerful shots and she’s tagging the former Ultimate Fighter competitor with some good shots.  Smith catches Duke and pushes her against the cage and she’s absolutely unloading with huge heavy punches and kicks.  It’s a shot to the liver and Duke crumbles against the cage and it’s all over!

Official result: Leslie Smith def. Jessamyn Duke by TKO (strikes) at 2:24, R1

Analysis: Leslie Smith will soon become a fan favorite with her style and she showed why with her performance against Jessamyn Duke on Wednesday night. Smith’s aggressiveness can sometimes be to her detriment but she sure makes a fun fight to watch.  Against Duke, who clearly doesn’t match up well with her novice experience level, Smith just overwhelmed her with strikes and wilted the former Ultimate Fighter with a nasty body punch. Very excited Leslie Smith is here to stay. Duke may not be after her second straight loss. 

Hugo Viana vs. Aljamain Sterling

Round 1:

Viana aggressive to start the fight, which is pretty much always his style. Sterling ends up taking the fight to the ground with Viana stepping into every single punch he throws, leaves him open for the takedown. Viana is able to work back up with Sterling trying to advance position. Sterling tries for a couple axe kicks but they are telegraphed and Viana avoids them.  Sterling using his reach to pop Viana and move away before he can do anything to counter

R1 10-9 Aljamain Sterling

Round 2:

Sterling very flashy with his attacks, but Viana is defending pretty well so far. Sterling swoops in for the takedown as you Matt Serra screams from his corner ‘strike and pass!’.  Sterling doubles up on the body kick to hurt Viana. Sterling catches a kick from Viana and takes the fight to the ground again. Sterling trying to get a rear naked choke before the end of the round, but the horn sounds before he can lock it on

R2 10-9 Aljamain Sterling

Round 3:

Sterling slips under for a nice single leg takedown to start the round and Serra might just be the loudest cornerman in the history of MMA.  Sterling gets the mount and he’s blasting away with strikes and Viana is just getting hammered and the referee has seen enough to stop the fight.

Official result: Aljamain Sterling def. Hugo Viana by TKO (strikes) at 3:50, R3

Analysis:  Aljamain Sterling could be a serious bantamweight contender one day – don’t forget that the only other guy to beat Viana in the UFC is current champion T.J. Dillashaw.  Sterling is a dangerous combination of ground work and standup, plus he works under the same coaches responsible for middleweight champion Chris Weidman and TUF 19 winner Eddie Gordon. The sky’s the limit for this young man. 

Yosdenis Cedeno vs. Jerrod Sanders

Round 1:

Cedeno cracks Sanders with a huge punch and he goes down! Sanders is surviving and he actually gets control of Cedeno’s hips and puts him on his back.  Cedeno pops out and he lands on top of Sanders looking to land punches. Cedeno just brutalizing Sanders and after the round is over it looks like Sander’s knee is severely hurt.

R1 10-9 Yosdenis Cedeno

And the fight is stopped – Jerrod Sanders is unable to continue with an injured knee

Official result: Yosdenis Cedeno def. Jerrod Sanders by TKO (fighter retirement) at 5:00, R1

Analysis: Good showing by Yosdenis Cedeno taking out an All-American wrestler from Oklahoma State in Jerrod Sanders.  Cedeno’s kryptonite was wrestlers so this was a big win for him, although Sanders was legitimately out sized since he’s normally a featherweight.

Claudia Gadelha vs. Tina Lahdemaki

Round 1:

The strawweights have officially arrived and they come out swinging. Gadelha and Lahdemaki are both throwing leather early but it doesn’t take long for the Brazilian to take this one to the mat.  Gadelha is able to work to the mount and immediately takes Lahdemaki’s back and starts looking for a choke.  Lahdemaki survives the first round

R1 10-9 Claudia Gadelha

Round 2:

Big slam from Gadelha to open this round. Gadelha works to take her opponent’s back and she’s got it once again. Gadelha has been in control for over five minutes already according to FightTrax. The fighters work back to the feet and it stays there for the remainder of the round.  Lehdemaki is starting to land some good punches as the round wears on as Gadelha’s gas tank seems to fade a bit. Closer round this time but still goes to the Brazilian

R2 10-9 Claudia Gadelha

Round 3:

The two fighters are pretty even on the feet at this point, but Gadelha grabs a big takedown about two and a half minutes into the round and that could be a big difference on the final scorecards. They work back up to the feet — Gadehla opening up with kicks while Lahdemaki is looking for punches.  Gadehla grabs another double leg takedown before the fight comes to an end.

R3 10-9 Claudia Gadelha

FOX Sports scores the fight 30-27 for Claudia Gadelha

Official result: Claudia Gadelha def. Tina Lahdemaki by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

Analysis: Claudia Gadelha was touted as possibly the best strawweight fighter in the UFC, but a lot of credit has to be given to Tina Lahdemaki for her performance as well.  She lost a lopsided decision, but Lahdemaki stuck around in every round and didn’t make it easy on Gadelha.  It was a fun debut for the UFC women’s strawweight division and Gadelha is a name to watch because once a champion is crowned later this year, she may be the No. 1 contender for the belt. 

MAIN CARD ON FOX SPORTS 1 at 9p ET

MAIN EVENT: Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone vs. Jim Miller

Edson Barboza vs. Evan Dunham

Rick Story vs. Leonardo Mafra

Justin Salas vs. Joe Proctor

John Lineker vs. Alptekin Ozkilic

Alex White vs. Lucas Martins

PRELIMS ON FOX SPORTS 1 at 7p ET

Gleison Tibau vs. Pat Healy

Jessamyn Duke vs. Leslie Smith

Hugo Viana vs. Aljamain Sterling

Yosdenis Cedeno vs. Jerrod Sanders

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS at 6:30p ET

Claudia Gadelha vs. Tina Lahdemaki