UFC lightweight Donald Cerrone's 2014 could not be going significantly better. He's fought three times in the year so far, winning all three by stoppage. If you count his second-round win over Jim Miller in the main event of UFC Fight Night 45 (UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Miller), two of those three stoppage wins came by way of head kick knockout.
The victory was enough for Cerrone to earn $50,000 in a Performance of the Night bonus, which was announced by UFC President Dana White on Twitter:
Tough night to pick bonuses but here we go FON- Ozkilic vs Lineker Performance Cerrone and Martins 50k each. Congrats— Dana White (@danawhite) July 17, 2014
The bout between Cerrone and Miller began evenly, perhaps even with Miller getting somewhat of the upper hand. The two exchanged on the feet with both landing, but Miller buckling Cerrone's legs at times. Miller was able to score takedowns, but Cerrone popped to his feet almost immediately every time.
By the second round, however, Cerrone found his groove. The Jackson's MMA product initially dropped Miller with a front kick to the body as his toes pointed straight, but referee Dan Miragliotta initially stopped the action to see whether it was a low blow. Miragliotta re-started the action quickly, though, and Cerrone went back to work.
'Cowboy' attacked the body mercilessly and not only had Miller hiding his midsection, but had him so out of position he was able to land a head kick that sent Miller crashing to the mat. Miragliotta had no choice but to stop the bout there, calling a halt to the contest at 3:31 of the second round.
Cerrone moves to 24-6 and 1 no-contest in professional mixed martial arts while Miller drops to 24-5 with 1 no-contest.
Earning Fight of the Night honors, and therefore $50,000 each, were flyweights John Lineker and Alptekin Ozkilic. Linekeer, known for his weight issues, had none this time and demonstrated proper conditioning throughout the contest. He battered 'The Turkish Delight' with brutal liver shots, uppercuts and overhand rights, but Ozkilic hung tough the entire time. In the first round, he was able to score at least briefly with takedowns, mixing up his offense and putting the heavy-handed Lineker on the defensive. Throughout the course of the bout, Ozkilic absorbed a ton of heavy shots from the flyweight division's most lethal puncher.
As time wore on, however, Lineker did not fade. By the end of the third round, a series of overhand rights with left hooks to the body finally sent Ozkillic to the mat. Lineker rushed to finish off his wounded opponent, doing so at 4:51 of the final frame.
Lineker improves to 24-7 while Ozkilic drops to 9-3.
Last, but certainly not least, bantamweight Lucas Martins also claimed $50,000 in a Performance of the Night bonus for his stoppage of Alex White. From the get-go, Martins showed superior hand speed, counter punching and more complete muay Thai, easily dominating the more conventional boxer in White. The America, however, rebounded some in the second round as Martins output declined and White landed a hard spinning backfist along with a series of hard left hooks.
By the third round, though, Martins regained control and began to unload right hands down the middle, one of which finally sent White crashing to the mat. Martins followed up with hammerfists, forcing the referee to stop the bout at 2:08 of the final frame.
Martins climbs to 15-1 while White drops to 10-1.
UFC Fight Night 45 took place at Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The main card aired on Fox Sports 1.