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UFC 187 main card result recap: Cerrone and Benavidez impress, Arlovski wins in FOTY candidate

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Bloody Elbow recaps the big fights from UFC 187 on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Here, we look at the opening three bouts of the main card which featured fan favourites Donald Cerrone, Joseph Benavidez and Andrei Arlovski.

Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Browne UFC 187 by Esther Lin MMA Fighting
Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Browne UFC 187 by Esther Lin MMA Fighting
Esther Lin

On Saturday night, UFC 187 took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada and was headlined by a pair of title fights that pitted Chris Weidman against Vitor Belfort and Anthony "Rumble" Johnson against the Olympic wrestling vet Daniel Cormier. While on paper the main and co-main event card were likely to steal the show, it was in fact the early main card bouts that provided the most exciting fight of the night.

John Moraga vs. Joseph Benavidez

Official Result: Joseph Benavidez def. John Moraga by Decision (Unanimous, 30-27 3x)

What was the high point of the fight?

This fight further solidified what many of us believe - that Joseph Benavidez is the number two flyweight in the world. Against John Moraga, the ever talented Benavidez relied on his wrestling to get the job done. Through three rounds, Benavidez's wrestling proved to be the high point, which earned him the victory.

Where do these two go from here?

Benavidez deserves a title shot, but the problem is that he has lost twice to the champion, Demetrious Johnson. It seems much more likely that Benavidez will need to rack off more wins before the UFC can make a match up against Johnson marketable. From a rankings perspective, a fight against John Dodson, who was also victorious on the card would make sense.

Moraga is fun to watch and is clearly quite talented, but unfortunately for him the flyweight division is stacked with great fighters. Zach Makovsky seems like the perfect fit for Moraga's return to action.

Watch now, later, or never?

Later. The first round was fun but after that it got a bit one sided. Definitely worth catching at some point though.

Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Browne

Official Result: Andrei Arlovski defeats Travis Browne via TKO (punches) at 4:41 of Round 1.

What was the high point of the fight?

Wow, this fight was amazing. When Andrei Arlovski's head is in the game he is amazing to watch. It's crazy to think that the man that entered the cage against Travis Browne is the same man that Brett Rogers destroyed. The high point of this fight was Arlovski's aggressive striking, and his relentless pursuit of this finish was ridiculously impressive.

Where do these two go from here?

It's a shame that Alistair Overeem has joined Jackson/Winklejohn MMA, as a fight between "The Reem" and Arlovski would have been great, but as it stands Arlovski is right in the mix for a title shot. He is marketable, fun to watch and is a good match-up for either Cain or Werdum. The more likely fight, however would be a number 1 contender clash with Stipe Miocic.

Travis Browne is still relatively early in his MMA career but he has taken some big punishment. His fights with Overeem, Bigfoot and Werdum were hard to watch at times and when you add in the huge amount of strikes he took last night, it makes me worry a little about his future. That being said, the fight that makes most sense for him right now is against Mark Hunt, who is perhaps the divisions hardest hitter.

Watch now, later, or never?

Now, this fight was so much fun to watch.

Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi

Official Result: Donald Cerrone defeats John Makdessi via
TKO (head kick) at 4:44 of Round 2.

What was the high point of the fight?

This fight went as many expected. Makdessi traditionally struggles with lanky strikers and Donald Cerrone is probably the best rangy striker in the division. Cerrone's striking was on point throughout and the high point of this fight was his lightning-quick head kicks.

Where do these two go from here?

Cerrone has been the ultimate company man for the last few years. He has taken every fight the UFC have offered and has jumped in on late notice to save cards. Cerrone's win on Saturday night has most likely earned him the title shot that he deserves.

Makdessi should be commended for stepping in on short notice, but this fight showed that while fun to watch, he is limited in regards to skill. Expect him to take a few months off before returning on the UFC's next venture up to Canada.

Watch now, later, or never?

Watch now. This was a typical Cowboy performance and was exciting throughout as two well-versed strikers went toe-to-toe in the middle of the cage.