The Hit List: The Top 5 moments from UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Miller
JUL 17, 2014 9:00a ET
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Eight knockouts in 11 fights? How are we going to trim this list down to just five of the best moments? This is not going to be easy.
Wednesday night down the Jersey Shore was outstanding -- possibly even the pound-for-pound most exciting card of the entire year. There was not a bad fight. There were nine finishes. History was made. Violence occurred.
It's hard to ask for anything better than what went down during UFC Fight Night at Revel. Somehow we've narrowed down the most significant things to five. And here they are:
'Cowboy' being 'Cowboy'
Donald Cerrone might not start a fight well, but he sure finishes it. "Cowboy" is a notoriously slow starter and he lost the first round to Jim Miller on Wednesday night. Then he went and knocked Miller out twice. Wait, what? Yeah, that's right. Cerrone landed a front kick to Miller's stomach in the second round that put Miller down and out. Except referee Dan Miragliotta thought Cerrone connected to the groin, so he let action restart.
Not that it would matter. Knowing that Miller was hurt to the body, Cerrone went upstairs. With Miller covering up his damaged abdominal area, "Cowboy" knocked him out with a textbook right head kick. It was the exclamation mark on a fantastic night.
Cerrone earned a $50,000 performance of the night bonus, sipped on a Budweiser long neck at the post-fight press conference and recited his usual shtick about fighting anyone. He's won four straight now, all by finish, and he might not want to talk about a title shot, but we will: if he continues this, there's one coming and he won't be able to swerve out of the way of it in his 44-foot RV.
Good thing he didn’t look in a mirror
Joe Proctor knew something was up with his head, but didn't quite know what it was. He asked his cornermen after the first round and they told him everything was just fine. In reality, the Boston native had a massive hematoma near his ear. It was one of the biggest ones in UFC history and brought back memories of when Mark Hominick fought Jose Aldo in Toronto.
Proctor obviously took his guys at their word, because he came out in the second round against Justin Salas confident and ended up winning the fight by TKO. It wasn't until afterward that he saw himself in a mirror and realized just how bad that bump on the side of his head was. See, it pays for a little dishonesty in a corner, as long as they're not telling their fighters they're up on the scorecards when they really aren't.
The next flyweight contender?
John Lineker won't be getting the next flyweight title shot, but he has to be close, right? Being one of the most exciting guys in the division has to count for something. After a fun two rounds, both of which Lineker won, "Hands of Stone" was not satisfied. He raised his game in the third and seemed hell bent on a finish of Alptekin Ozkilic. Lineker got it with a vicious left hand with just nine seconds left in the fight.
The Brazilian's biggest challenge isn't necessarily the guys in front of him at 125, it's making 125 on the scales. Lineker hit the mark Tuesday, but previously missed weight three times in six flyweight bouts. He says his weight cutting issues are in the past and if you don't believe him, you might end up staring up at the lights like Ozkilic. Chris Cariaso meets champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC 177 next month, but after that it's Lineker and everybody else. He's probably one victory away from fighting for the title.
Look out, bantamweight division
Aljamain Sterling looked raw in his UFC debut in February. On Wednesday night, he looked downright scary. Hugo Viana is a pretty tough UFC bantamweight and Sterling completely dominated him and then finished him with some vicious, savage ground and pound late in the third round. Sterling showed off athletic stand up and some really technical wrestling and grappling.
At 24, the Serra-Longo product is a serious prospect -- maybe one of the best in the entire UFC at this point. He's that physically gifted and skills have come that far. Being taught by Matt Serra and Ray Longo doesn't hurt, either. We saw what that did for Chris Weidman. It probably won't be long before we're putting Sterling's name up there with the bantamweight elite. And that division could use some new blood.
Women's MMA history
As if we didn’t already know the women's strawweight division would be a hit with regards to exciting fights, we had it confirmed by Claudia Gadelha and Tina Lahdemaki in the weight class' inaugural UFC fight. Gadelha clearly won all three rounds and mostly dominated, but Lahdemaki hung right in there and had her moments. It wasn't a complete rout and it was a sign that the division is going to have plenty of parity.
Gadelha, who was the women's strawweight No. 1 contender in Invicta, will likely be in the mix for the first title shot once the champion is crowned. The Ultimate Fighter 20 tournament will decide who wears the belt for the first time. Gadelha, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, might have to win more time before getting the opportunity since the TUF Finale and tournament final won't be until December.