UFC Fight Night 45 Preview

ufc_fn45The UFC travels to Atlantic City once again as they look to the lightweights to carry their most recent fight night card. It has become a constant for the UFC as they look to one of their most talented divisions in the promotion to provide an exciting fight. The lightweight division is one of the best divisions in the UFC as the amount of talent is so backed up that contenders can only fight each other while they wait for the champion to fight again. That champion right now is Anthony Pettis who beat Benson Henderson in August 2013. Since that time Pettis has not defended his belt after suffering a knee injury before his December fight against Josh Thomson. Is next fight is scheduled for January of 2015 as he will remain out of the UFC for more than a year as Gilbert Melendez waits for his return at UFC 182. With Melendez in the top contender spot for now and Pettis on the sidelines the Lightweight division is once again caught in strange spot where some of the best fighters in the UFC have nowhere to go. Fighters are in this game to win title belts and yet it seems that in the lightweight division there is limited opportunity to do just that. It would start when Frankie Edgar won the belt in 2010 in a close bout that would require a rematch. That rematch would take up one challenge and then Edgar would move on to fight Gray Maynard to a draw, again leading to a rematch. Edgar and Maynard would both be injured before their rematch delaying the fight until Edgar beat Maynard. That pattern would continue with two fights between Edgar and Benson Henderson, which Henderson would win. Rematches and injuries would plagued the lightweight division and would allow more and more great fighters to enter the title conversation. Melendez will get the next shot but Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson seem owed a title shot soon while TJ Grant remains inactive due to concussion issues and when he returns will be close to a shot as well after being forced to drop out of two title fights previously. That is the environment that Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone are a part of as they face off at UFC Fight Night 45. Cerrone is ranked as the #6 lightweight while Miller is the #7 as both will look to continue their good performances to stay in the conversation in the division. They have to not only win but make an impression in this division with so much talent ahead and behind them they need to make an impression if they hope to join the line for a title shot. It is becoming more common among all fights in the UFC no matter the division as both fighters are very well-balanced fighters. If there is a difference it is that Cerrone is likely a little more comfortable on the feet and Miller more-so on the ground.  Still, wherever the fight goes both fighters will not have an issue as they have both ended fights with KOs or submissions. It should be an even fight with two very good fighters facing off but only one will come out as a winner. That fighter will be Donald Cerrone who will squeak out a split decision win in what could be a fight of the night candidate.

Before two of the top 10 fighters in the division two more fighters will look to move their way up the tough division ladder. Edson Barboza is currently ranked 13th while Evan Dunham is not currently in the top 15. While Cerrone and Miller are on the edge of a title shot if they continue winning, Barbosa and Dunham are much further away and have to wade through the toughest division in the UFC to get there. Both fighters have to recover from losses in their last fight and oddly enough both of those losses would come at the hands of the main eventer Donald Cerrone. With recent losses on the record it is hard to stay in the fight for the lightweight rankings as one loss can mean a complete fall from the top of the rankings. Both fighters have seen this as Barboza is close to falling out of the rankings while Dunham isn’t in the rankings. Both fighters look to reverse their fortunes at UFC Fight Night 45 though as they face-off in the co-main event of the night with a chance to make an impression on the UFC brass. Both fighters are, again, well-rounded but Dunham is much more comfortable on the ground with a great BJJ game. Barboza is no slouch on the ground but his aggressive attitude is used much more effectively in the stand-up game. More often than not Barboza’s submissions wins came from striking first and that is what he will try to do to Dunham. Meanwhile Dunham will likely be trying to get the fight to the ground where he can use his superior BJJ to earn a submission win. It is a close battle in a night of close battles and another fight that could mean a bonus for either fighter with both men having plenty to lose in this fight.


Fight Card

Main Event:
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Jim Miller (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Main Card:
Edson Barboza vs. Evan Dunham (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Rick “The Horror” Story vs. Leonardo “Macarrão” Mafra (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Joe Proctor vs. Justin “J-Bomb” Salas (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

John “Hands of Stone” Lineker vs. Alp “The Turkish Delight” Ozkilic (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Lucas “Mineiro” Martins vs. Alex “The Spartan” White (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Gleison Tibau vs. Pat “Bam Bam” Healy (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke vs. Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Aljamain “Funk Master” Sterling vs. Hugo “Wolverine” Viana (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Yosdenis “Pink Panther” Cedeno vs. Jerrod “J-Reazie” Sanders (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha vs. Tina “Jellybean” Lähdemäki (Sportsnet 360/UFC Fight Pass)

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