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Six biggest takeaways from UFC Fight Night 132, including Donald Cerrone's new career phase

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What really mattered at UFC Fight Night 132? Here are a few things…

1. ‘Cowboy’ has become a certain kind of fighter, and that’s not all bad – or all good

Go through Donald Cerrone’s record of late and you’ll see that there’s a trend. All his fights take place at events with names like “UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. (blank),” and they take place in cities like Kallang and Austin and Gdansk. Those are certain types of events in the UFC hierarchy, and Cerrone has become the guy the UFC can depend on to anchor them.

That’s not necessarily bad news. When you’re that kind of fighter, all that’s expected of you is to bring a name and put on a show. As Cerrone demonstrated even in defeat here, he can still do that. He’s just not winning as many of those kinds of fights as he used to. And the downside is, once people get used to thinking of you in this particular role, it’s hard to get them to go back to thinking of you as a serious contender.

2. Are things about to get serious for Edwards?

This win makes it six in a row for Leon Edwards, and this time he has a real name to add to his wall. So now what? Welterweight’s a crowded field with a lot of voices all screaming for attention. Beating Cerrone still means something, but when you do it early in the morning on a UFC Fight Pass stream, you run the risk that no one will notice. Edwards proved that he deserves to take the next step up in competition. Hopefully he gets to do it when people are actually paying attention.

3. In a sleepy division, ‘OSP’ has become an underappreciated workhorse

That thing Ovince Saint Preux said about being one of the most active light heavyweights? He ain’t kidding. In the roughly two years since his title shot, he’s fought seven times. He fought four times in 2017 alone, and he’s on pace to equal that again this year. Who else does that at 205 pounds?

His bout with Tyson Pedro lasted less than three minutes, but still somehow it squeezed all the good and the bad of Saint Preux into that narrow window. He started slow, got dropped, nearly got himself choked, then managed to muscle his way out and nab a submission no one saw coming. Yep, that’s pretty much the book on “OSP.” And he’ll just keep doing that whenever he gets the chance.

4. I get the feeling someone is happy to see a women’s flyweight division in the UFC

We got to see a very fired up Jessica Eye after her unanimous-decision win over Jessica Rose-Clark. She told us she was the greatest. She told us that her unhappy life as a bantamweight was to blame for all her woes. She told us she deserves a title shot. She said it all in a tone that suggested she did not expect us to agree, but also did not particularly care.

With this win, Eye has something that could be fairly called a winning streak for the first time in her UFC tenure. It coincides with her return to flyweight, so maybe she really was just suffering from a lack of weight class options, but it’s still not like she’s out here blowing people away.

She squeaked by Rose-Clark in a fight that could have conceivably gone the other way. Before that, she won a split-decision over a fighter who’s winless in two tries with the UFC. If you want us to believe you’re championship material, a winning streak is a good start. Finishing people – or at least clearly dominating them – would be even better.

5. If I’m Matthews, here’s where I feel a little taken for granted

Jake Matthews blew past Shinzo Ansai on the prelims for his third straight win. The fight before that? He beat Li Jingliang in a “Fight of the Night” performance, despite nearly getting his eye gouged out in one of the dirtiest submission escapes this side of Ian Freeman. So why did Matthews end up on the prelims while Jingliang got a main-card billing on this very same fight card?

I suppose we know why. The crowd in Singapore is likely to care more about Jingliang than about Matthews, and anyway, on a UFC Fight Pass card, the distinction between prelims and main card is arguably non-existent.

Still, sure seems like Matthews didn’t see much career advancement for his win. Also seems like Jingliang didn’t take any noticeable step back. That’s the kind of thing that might irk me if I’d gutted my way through a finger in the eye just to get that victory that doesn’t seem to have made much difference.

6. When the main event comes up at the same time as the sun…

After this experience I can confirm that it’s never a good idea to start anything at 2:30 in the morning. I realize the UFC doesn’t do fight cards like this because it expects a bunch of fans back home to watch them all live. This is done for local market purposes, and if you’re smart you’ll treat it like a tape-delayed event rather than waking up (or staying up) to see the lowest tier of UFC programming.

That’s fine, but it doesn’t do any favors for the fighters on the card who are already struggling to stand out and move forward in their careers. It’s hard to get people’s attention in a busy, monochrome version of the UFC. It doesn’t get any easier at 4 a.m.

For more on UFC Fight Night 132, check out the UFC Events section of the site.



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