Paul Kelly clearly wasn’t in the mood to give Donald Cerrone a friendly welcome to the UFC when he unsportingly faked a glove touch and then threw a punch instead at the start of the fight. Luckily ‘Cowboy’ was alert and ducked into a successful takedown.
Before long Kelly was back to his feet and appeared to be getting the better of the stand-up, landing some decent punches to the face of Cerrone, who was not looking as confident and fluid in his striking as we’ve seen him in the WEC.
in the closing minute of the round Cerrone landed another takedown and helped swing the momentum back in his favor with a chopping elbow strike which opened up a bad cut at the side of Kelly’s right eye.
The second round started with some fairly even action on the feet before Cerrone switched gears and landed a nice trip takedown. He briefly found himself in the mount position before taking his back as Kelly tries to squirm free. Locking in the body triangle Cerrone then calmly works for the rear-naked choke, finally sinking it in deep enough to get the tap at 3.48mins of the second round gone.
Overall it was perhaps a slightly nervy debut from Cerrone, but he was able to show off some of his excellent ground skills, and he’ll be a fun fighter to watch as he continues to take on new challenges in the UFC’s 155lb division.