image via UFC
Donald Cerrone showed once again why he is such a feared striker in the lightweight division, completely taking apart Jeremy Stephens over three full rounds and winning a unanimous decision. All three judges had it 30-27 for Cowboy. Stephens was never able to get past Cerrone's reach advantage, while Cerrone lit him up with combinations and brutal leg kicks from the outside. It was a vintage performance from the WEC and UFC bonus machine.
Cerrone looked willing to engage early and went inside, where he ate a right hand from Stephens. Cerrone responded with a nice leg kick. Cerrone continued to use a straight-punch-to-leg-kick combination. Cerrone shot in for a takedown but got stuffed. He came back with a nice head kick and a knee. Cowboy pieced together some very nice combinations in the latter half of the first, while Stephens was completely unable to establish his game for pretty much the entire round.
Cerrone continued to show off his clear striking advantage in the second, throwing some flashy attacks and landing a mean uppercut that dazed the "Lil Heathen". Stephens recovered, but was constantly coming up short with his punches. Cerrone basically just beat Stephens up, landing whatever he wanted to. Stephens stayed in there, but was covering up a lot and not landing anything appreciable in return. Cerrone got a takedown with 30 seconds to go just to change things up. Stephens landed an elbow that opened up a cut on the top of Cerrone's head.
Cerrone landed his patented nut shot to start the third round. When the fight resumed, Cerrone went back to the attack with kicks and combinations. Cerrone chopped Stephens down with a leg kick, but lost his own balance and couldn't capitalize. Cerrone continued to beat up the lead leg, which caused Stephens to limp a bit. Stephens complained about his eye after a body kick, which was weird. Stephens threw a flying knee late but couldn't land it.