Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone likely punched his ticket to a lightweight title shot with a second-round TKO over John Makdessi after shattering the Canadian’s jaw to call a stop to the contest.
Cerrone was supposed to face undefeated contender Khabib Nurmagomedov on Saturday night, but an injury to the Dagestani fighter forced him to withdraw from the card. Makdessi, coming off a win against Shane Campbell at UFC 186, stepped in on just a few weeks’ notice to accept the challenge.
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It didn’t take long for Cerrone to test Makdessi’s chin as he blasted away at the Canadian with a barrage of heavy punches before opening up with several high kicks to the head.
Cerrone cracked Makdessi with a rarely-used upward back elbow, as well as a knee to the head that clearly rattled the late-notice replacement.
With less than 30 seconds to go in the round, Cerrone fired another head kick that cracked Makdessi and while he didn’t fall over, he quickly retreated and made a motion for a timeout.
Obviously there are no timeouts, and the referee realized that Makdessi was hurt and he called a stop to the contest. Based upon the replay and Makdessi’s reaction, it appeared that Cerrone broke his jaw with the final kick that put a stop to the fight.
Cerrone said after the victory that he was battling injuries all camp long, but never had any intention of dropping out of the fight. Now with the win at UFC 187, Cerrone likely is headed for a title shot later this year in a rematch with champion Rafael dos Anjos.
The two lightweights first met in 2013 with dos Anjos coming out on top by unanimous decision in what stands as Cerrone’s last loss before going on his eight-fight win streak.
"I might get this title by default sooner or later, huh?" Cerrone asked.