Most impressive showing to date for WEC veteran
The first lightweight contest on the UFC on Versus main card was supposed to be a close affair with Fight of the Night potential. Instead, Donald Cerrone made it his personal coming out party.
“Cowboy” came out of the blocks faster than normal, fired up and launching leg kicks at 21-year-old prospect Charles Oliveira. The two traded strikes, both trying to find their range, with neither man earning a significant advantage. After a brief pause following an accidental low blow, Cerrone apologized, the two touched gloves, and the WEC veteran started to turn up the intensity, marking the beginning of the end for Oliveira.
A split second after his coach Greg Jackson implored him to keep his punches straight, Cerrone ripped a right hand down the pipe, snapping Oliveira’s head back. Moments later, the former WEC title contender drove a knee into his opponent’s chest, leaving him on his back in obvious trouble. From there, Cerrone pounced and pounded out the finish, earning the stoppage at 3:01 of the first round.
With the tremendous depth of the lightweight division, making an impression and getting noticed is a difficult task. This performance should definitely earn Cerrone some attention moving forward.
A three-time title challenger during his time in the WEC, Cerrone is now 3-0 in the UFC and has shown improvement each time out. After debuting with a second round submission win over Paul Kelly at UFC 125 on New Year’s Day, the 28-year-old ferociously attacked late replacement Vagner Rocha’s legs at UFC 131 in Vancouver.
He turned it up another notch Sunday in Milwaukee.
This was Cerrone’s best showing to date in the UFC; an impressive finish of an up-and-coming young talent whose only previous loss came to top lightweight contender Jim Miller. Though he wasn’t forced to show it in this fight, Cerrone is a well-rounded fighter who seems to be starting to harness his emotions and put the potential he showed in the WEC to good use. Though he still holds out hopes of facing fellow UFC on Versus 5 winner Cole Miller at some point, stopping Oliveira in impressive fashion should earn the tattooed trash talker another step up the competitive ladder.
Cerrone improves to 16-3 in his career with the victory.