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UFC 178 results: Donald Cerrone outlasts Eddie Alvarez in brutal slugfest

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Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

LAS VEGAS - After weeks of anticipation, it seemed impossible for the UFC 178 lightweight co-main event between Donald Cerrone and Eddie Alvarez to live up to expectations.

And yet it did.

Cerrone welcomed the former Bellator champion the only way he knows how. The duo went toe-to-toe for 15 brutal minutes before Cerrone (25-6, 1 NC) emerged victorious on Saturday night.

The judges' scores were 29-28 across the board for Cerrone, who won for the fifth time since November.

"I think that was the best Eddie," Cerrone said. "He came and brought it, my hat's off to him."

The opening round went to Alvarez, who used sharp boxing to keep Cerrone off balance. Alvarez disregarded Cerrone's hieght and weight advantage and landed scored in close, using rope-a-dope tactics  and landing with dirty boxing flurries.

Cerrone, a notoriously slow starter, figured out his timing in round two and took it to Alvarez. Cerrone landed all sorts of knees and kicks, all of which did damage, but none of which were the decisive blow.

"It's just the way I am," Cerrone said about his slow start. "I can't figure it out. I'm cursed. If you're going to beat me, try to beat me in the first."

In round three, Alvarez looked to have things in his favor for a moment when he dropped Cerrone with a right to the jaw. But the "Cowboy" regained his bearing and took over. Cerrone simply had too many weapons for Alvarez. he finally turned the fight in his favor once and for all with a brutal leg kick. He dropped Alvarez in the followup exchanges. Alvarez managed to hang on until the final horn.

"There's no quit in this dog," said Cerrone. "Whatcha gonna do?"