Donald Cerrone was rocked early on but came back to finish Edson Barboza in an exciting lightweight battle at UFC on FOX 11 in Orlando. The Brazilian landed a solid punch just seconds into the fight that stunned “Cowboy” but he utilized his wealth of experience to weather the storm. Cerrone was able to turn the tide later in the round and after rocking Barboza moved in for the finish and eventually choked him out at the 3:15 mark. It earned Cerrone a performance of the night bonus.
Cerrone is on quite the run with back-to-back first round finishes. The victory over Barboza was a tremendous follow-up to his highlight-reel head-kick finish of Adriano Martins at UFC on FOX 10. The popular UFC veteran has now stopped his last three opponents earning a trio of post-fight bonuses in the process.
Barboza was showcasing his entire offensive arsenal against Cerrone and enjoying success with his punches and kicks before being dropped after being stunned by a crisp left jab. Cerrone was quick to transition into a rear naked choke on his opponent and forced Barboza to tap. The Brazilian saw his record fall to 13-2 with both of his losses having come by first-round finishes. Barboza was shocked by Jamie Varner at UFC 146. He’s a tremendously athletic fighter but isn’t quite ready to enter the elite level just yet.
Cerrone improved to 23-6 with the win and should improve upon his current No. 8 ranking. Cerrone had mentioned he was hoping to fight an incredible six times in 2014, and if he continues to produce first-round finishes that lofty goal could be a little more realistic than most would have thought.
“Cowboy” should be looking at a high profile opportunity in his next fight as he continues to look sharp in his latest title pursuit. As for Barboza, it’s back to the drawing board after faltering against the promotional mainstay.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports