When the UFC returned to Chicago on Saturday night, a long-awaited contest between lightweight thrillers Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone took place on the main card. The UFC on Fox 6 battle saw Pettis come out on top with a first-round stoppage.
Pettis, the final champion in WEC history, entered the UFC with a lot of momentum but was dominated by the stifling top game of Clay Guida in his promotional debut. Since that time, "Showtime" has won a lackluster decision over Jeremy Stephens and then lit up Joe Lauzon with a vicious head kick at UFC 144.
"The Cowboy" had three failed bids for the WEC championship before the promotion closed in 2010. With a 6-1 record inside the Octagon, Cerrone became one of the highest-ranked members of the lightweight division.
The fight ended in the first round after "Showtime" delivered a nasty liver kick that crumbled Cerrone in the center of the Octagon. The official TKO stoppage came at 2:35 into the fight.
What we'll remember about this fight
The image of Donald Cerrone doubled over in pain following the fight-ending body kick.
Fans will also point to a missed capoeira kick and a springboard from the cage as attempts from Pettis to supplement his already-incredible highlight reel.
What we learned about Donald Cerrone
That his fight IQ isn't as high as one might think. The Cowboy knows that Pettis is most dangerous in the striking department, although he made no attempts to take this contest to the ground.
What we learned about Anthony Pettis
That ring rust was not a factor for the third-degree black belt. Most fighters who spend a year on the sidelines lose a step or two in their return contest, but that was definitely not the case in this matchup.
What's next for Donald Cerrone
Saturday's loss was a major speed bump for Cerrone, who was hoping to win his seventh UFC contest. Instead, the Cowboy tasted defeat for the second time.
The best matchup for Cerrone comes in the form of fellow Fight Night bonus winner Joe Lauzon, who is coming off of a tough loss at UFC 155 against Jim Miller.
What's next for Anthony Pettis
Some think that Pettis shouldn't sit on the sidelines and wait for the winner of Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez. That school of thought has valid points, as the title fight doesn't take place for another three months and Pettis would be on the sidelines until the Fall.
However, Pettis risked a title shot once before and paid for it dearly after losing to Clay Guida in his promotional debut.