UFC Fight Night 45 was an incredibly entertaining fight card from top to bottom. All 11-fights delivered in entertainment–including 9 TKO/KO victories. An emphasis was made on the body/liver shot throughout this card with three fights either finishing by or affected by those shots. A lot of the fighters were worthy of being named a star, but I have narrowed it down to three.
Honorable mentions: Claudia Gadelha, Aljamain Sterling, Leslie Smith, Lucas Martins, Joe Proctor
3rd Star – John Lineker and Alptekin Ozkilic
John Lineker was able to make the flyweight limit for the first time inside the USA, and showed zero affects of the weight cut in his 3-round slug-em-out battle with “The Turkish Delight”. Lineker kept up the same pace for all 15-minutes, continually landing his hands of stone right and left hands. Ozkilic hung in there and held his own against the heavy handed Brazilian, but in the end he too would fall like many of Lineker’s previous opponents.
Lineker landed a body shot that forced Alptekin Ozkilic to fall to the canvas with just 11 seconds left in the bout, leading to Lineker’s fourth TKO stoppage in the UFC. The fight was worthy of winning the fight of the night bonus, netting each fighter an extra $50,000.
Lineker asked Dana White and Joe Silva for the next flyweight title shot post-fight, unfortunately that currently belongs to Chris Cariaso.
2nd Star – Edson Barboza
Edson Barboza’s devstating kicks are well known throughout the MMA world, finishing 3 of his previous opponents with a leg or a head kick. Well you can add a 4th name to that list, Evan Dunham suffered a body kick knockout early in the first round.
Barboza’s right body kick just grazed the right side of the body of Evan Dunham, but it was enough to force the lightweight to fall down in pain for a brief moment, and that was all Barboza needed to finish the fight. The shot to the liver was just the 2nd time Evan Dunham–who is known for his toughness—had been finished by TKO in 20 career fights.
The 13th ranked lightweight in the UFC is 4-1 in his last 5 bouts, with the lone loss coming to Donald Cerrone. Barboza asked for a top 10 or top 5 guy as his next opponent.
1st Star – Donald Cerrone
Donald Cerrone competed in his 3rd bout in the year of 2014, he started the year by asking for 6 total fights in 2014, he is now on pace for that mark. Cerrone’s gameplan was to work the body of Jim Miller with kicks, and finish with the head kick. Despite a slow start, that allowed him to get his timing down, Cerrone came out and blitz Miller in the 2nd.
Midway through the 2nd round, a straight kick to the body caught Jim Miller’s stomach and had him bent over in pain, luckily for him, the referee would step in and give him a break–thinking that it was an illegal shot to the groin. But unluckily for Jim Miller, he had to continue the fight still favouring his body. This allowed Cerrone to exploit his defense of the body shots, by landing a swift right head kick for the knockout.
This was just the first time Jim Miller has been finished due to strikes and the second time he has been finished in his 30-fight career.
Cerrone won his 4th straight bout in 8 months, and is looking to get back into the Octagon as soon as possible. Telling Jon Anik that he’d be willing to fight at 170 as well. “Cowboy” reiterated this when asked at the post-fight press conference, saying he’ll literally fight anybody–that includes top 10 lightweights Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov.