One of the more entertaining lightweight matchups this year
will take place on Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 45 when sixth-ranked
contender Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone battles No. 7 Jim Miller in the five-round main
event at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City. Cerrone (23-6, 1 No-Contest) opened
as a solid -250 favorite (bet $250 to win $100) at the LVH SuperBook in Las
Vegas against Miller (24-4, 1 NC), who is a +210 underdog (bet $100 to win
$210). The five-bout main card will get underway at 6 p.m. (PT) and be
televised on FOX Sports 1 after four preliminary card fights start at 4 p.m.
Click here to check the latest MMA odds for UFC Fight Night
Cerrone will be fighting for the third time in 2014 and for
the fourth time over the last eight months, reeling off three straight wins
over Adriano Martins, Evan Dunham and Edson Barboza, and the latter two will also
be squaring off against each other in the co-main event. "Cowboy" has earned
post-fight bonuses in each of those bouts, including Submission of the Night
(vs. Dunham), Knockout of the Night (vs. Martins) and Performance of the Night
(vs. Barboza). His only two losses in the past two years have come against
lightweight champion Anthony Pettis via first-round TKO and vs. Rafael dos
Anjos by unanimous decision, and he is 12-3 in his last 15 fights overall
dating back to Sept. 30, 2010.
Miller is 11-2 with a No-Contest in his last 14 bouts, with
the two losses coming against Nate Diaz (second-round guillotine submission
choke) in a lightweight title eliminator fight and Benson Henderson (UD), who
would go on to become lightweight champ before giving up the belt to Pettis in
a first-round submission loss at UFC 164. Diaz was a very difficult opponent
for him because he gave up four inches in height and five inches in reach, and
size could definitely be another disadvantage for him here against Cerrone.
Miller is three inches shorter than his foe at 5-foot-8, and Cerrone will have
a 2-inch edge in reach.
Both fighters are very exciting to watch, as they have totaled
12 finishes among their past 20 bouts combined. Cerrone has gone the distance
four times in his last 10 fights (7-3), going 2-2 in those decisions, also
registering three submissions and two knockouts during that stretch. Meanwhile,
Miller has seen three of his past 10 (7-2, 1 NC) go to the judges, stopping
five opponents in his last six wins with four subs and one TKO.
The winner of this bout will put himself one step closer to a
possible title shot against the winner of Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez later this
year. Cerrone has publicly stated that he wants to set the UFC record for most
fights in one year with six, and he will likely need a quick stoppage here
against Miller in order to have any chance of accomplishing that feat in 2014.
Pick: Cerrone by submission
Other UFC Fight Night 45 Picks: Barboza -250 at MGM/Miraga
and Pat Healy +140 at William Hill