Trouble was coming for Donald Cerrone from all angles. Kicks and knees and elbows. Suddenly he was in an unusual position; he was the slower man, and seemingly the less explosive.
Chalk one up to veteran savvy. Cerrone created just enough opening for himself, and then walked through it. After a series of barrages, it was a simple hard jab that put Edson Barboza down, and Cerrone capitalized, transitioning to his back in a lightning strike before sinking in a fight-finishing rear naked choke.
The finish of the UFC on FOX lightweight battle came at 3:15 of round one.
Article continues below ...
For nearly exchange until then, Barboza seemed to get the better of it as he looked for his biggest career win against the No. 8 ranked Cerrone. He hurt his opponent in the opening seconds of the fight, then later with a body kick and follow hook to the body. At one point, a frustrated Cerrone resorted to a takedown try, but Barboza defended it and they continued.
The end came in a flash. Most of the fight had been a blur, but in a rare moment of inaction, the two searched for angles when Cerrone shot out a jab that landed flush and knocked Barboza off-balance and then to his knees. Cerrone was immediately on his back and choked him out before the Amway Center crowd in Orlando.
The "Cowboy" has now won three straight, moving to 23-6 with 1 no contest.
Barboza saw his own three-fight win streak come to an end, as he’s now 13-2.