Donald Cerrone welcomed KJ Noons to the UFC the hard way, bloodying and battering the former Strikeforce fighter over three rounds en route to a lopsided unanimous decision victory to kick off the main card of UFC 160.
Both fighters came out implementing their kick games to start. Cerrone drew blood first after shooting for a takedown, landing a flush knee as Noons fought off the attempt. Cerrone managed a quick takedown but could not keep Noons grounded as they resumed the battle on their feet. Noons flashed his jab as the round wore on but stayed outside which gave Cerrone the distance he needed to mix up his striking game leading with kicks. Cerrone then landed the most significant exchange late in the round with a punch-kick combo punctuated with a head kick.
Cerrone came out in the second round getting a quick takedown and advancing to take the back of Noons. Noons quickly made his way out of trouble and back to his feet but Cerrone connected on his way out, taking the center of the cage. Noons finally found his way inside but couldn’t manage a big flurry with his technical boxing as Cerrone circled out of trouble. Noons found his range as Cerrone stalked, then connected with a jab and spinning back fist but got careless as he kicked, giving up a takedown with just over a minute to go in the round. From there Cerrone went to work, punishing the body of Noons, while mixing in elbows from the top to cap off a very competitive stanza.
Noons started the third throwing to the body and winging punches in the pocket. Cerrone fired back, again mixing up his attack with knees and punches at all levels. Noons listened to his corner, connecting with his left hook, but again gave Cerrone the opening he needed to duck in and take the fight to the mat. Cerrone dropped massive elbows from the top immedietely, opening up the blood flow as Noons scrambled to create enough space to get up. Noons had no answer for the top control of Cerrone as he continued to absorb punishment from the bottom as the bell sounded on the bout.
The impressive performance by Cerrone (20-5-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) earned him the nod on the scorecards with scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 30-26.