MMA

UFC Fight Night 45: ‘Cowboy vs. Miller’ main event preview and prediction

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cowboymiller

Whippany, New Jersey’s Jim Miller will be just two hours away from home when he takes center stage in Atlantic City on Wednesday night to engage in fisticuffs with Greg Jackson’s resident ‘Cowboy,’ Donald Cerrone, in main event that is scheduled for five rounds, and reeks of must see t.v. on paper.

These have been two of the busiest guys on the roster since 2010. Cerrone is fighting at a 4 fight a year clip with a record of 12-4 (including those final 3 fights in the WEC). Miller is 9-2 (1 NC) since submitting Duane ‘Bang’ Ludwig in just two and half minutes and a penny on the 2nd day of 2010.

The UFC needs as many headliners as they can get with 43 events in one calendar year. Both of these guys bring the excitement every time and both men are guaranteed to fight to the bitter end. Cerrone has 14 event bonuses to his credit while Miller has 6. You put this fight on any card and it’s bona-fide fight of the night favorite. Feel free to join me as we take a closer look at the UFC Fight Night 45 main event below. I mean, why not right? You already got this far.

Last 5 Fights:

• Cerrone:

W – Barboza (Sub – RNC) – 4.19.14
W – Martins (KO – Head Kick) – 1.25.14
W – Dunham (Sub – Triangle Choke) – 11.15.13
L – Dos Anjos (UD) – 8.8.13
W – Noons (UD) – 5.25.13

• Miller:

W – Medeiros (Tech Sub – Guillotine) – 4.26.14
W – Camoes (Sub – Armbar) – 12.28.13
NC – Healy (Overturned after Healy tested positive for Marijuana) – 4.27.13
W – J. Lauzon (UD) – 12.29.12
L – Na. Diaz – (Sub – Guillotine) – 5.5.12

What’s at Stake?

After dropping 2 out of 3 to big names like Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz, Miller is back on track now with what is technically a nice little 4 fight unbeaten streak if you count the Healy NC. Cerrone has finished his last 3 opponents and has expressed interest in fighting up to 6 times this year. Yes, Cerrone is crazy. Him fighting 6 times in a year  though is very much a possibility. He fought 5 times in 2011 and his third fight wasn’t until August. Numbers are fun and all but what’s really at stake here for these two lightweight competitors?

Both guys have flirted with UFC title shots in the past and both tend to lose when they are just on win away from securing one. With Anthony Pettis currently holding the lightweight title hostage you’re not going to find the words ‘title eliminator’ or ‘potential future title shot’ in the same breath with anyone who tips the scales at 155 lbs on the current UFC roster not named Gilbert Melendez. The title picture is simply non-existent. Guys just have to keep winning through 2015 if they want to stay in line. Benson Henderson is the guy at the top of the heap of contenders so right now a fight with him is pretty much the equivalent to a title shot until Pettis and Melendez throw down next (knock on wood) January. So what’s really at stake here is just more bonus money for both men and trying to stay in the top 10. Even if either man falls out though with the rate they fight at they can easily get right back in the mix by the time Pettis defends his belt for the first time.

Prediction:

Both of these guys are known for pushing the pace. Cerrone’s kicks and punches are more deadly and crisp than Miller’s but Miller has that true grit you just can’t teach. The problem for him is  Cerrone has it too. On paper we can expect a high level no holds barred battle in every facet of the game with plenty of crazy scrambles and lots of blood. These are two fighters who will pounce on you after they knockdown and look for an arm, a knee, or your neck instead of pounding you out with their fists.

In recent fights with Guillard and Barboza, Cerrone has gotten even better after getting tagged. Miller’s submissions don’t get talked about nearly enough – both of these men are so dangerous when the fight hits the mat against anyone in the division. Miller’s kneebar over submission ace Charles Oliveira tells us that his fearlessness is part of the reason why he’s so successful.

Both men have only been submitted once in their respective careers (again, with Miller’s loss against Healy being overturned). Cerrone’s came early against Bendo when both fighters were dry while Miller’s came a little over halfway through his contest against Diaz and late in the 3rd against Healy, if you want to count that one. Miller has never seen a 4th round in his career while Cerrone has once. This, again, was against Bendo back in 2009 in a fight that many awarded fight of the year honors. There are so many moving parts that make this such an intriguing fight. I have a tough time with Miller keeping up the level of intensity he brings into each fight and I also have a tough time believing that he’ll attempt to make an adjustment and  pace himself against someone as game and relentless as Cerrone.

I’ll take Cerrone coming out the victor with a late RNC (4th round) after three and a half rounds of back and forth, wall to wall brawling with both men enjoying some moments that will be great additions on their already jam packed highlight reels moving forward.

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