Just ten days after running two events in two consecutive days, the UFC will be back with Fight Night 45 from Atlantic City, New Jersey. Then three days after that the Octagon will be in Dublin, Ireland for Fight Night 46. So essentially, in the new UFC, this is a slow week as the MMA community has a chance to catch their collective breaths between events for once. Based on the top two fights that will be airing on Fox Sports 1, fans will need that chance to recover, as both the main event of Donald Cerrone versus Jim Miller and the co-feature with Edson Barboza and Evan Dunham should be spectacular showcases in the lightweight division. Cerrone is on a three-fight win streak since dropping a decision to Rafael dos Anjos in possibly his worst career performance. Despite winning two of those three fights by submission, his kickboxing game has looked especially dangerous of late as he landed several hard stepping knees on Evan Dunham, and knocked Adriano Martins clean out with a head kick. That striking should serve as his biggest advantage here as well, since Jim Miller has been one of the most dangerous submission artists in the UFC recently. Miller’s level of competition hasn’t been quite as high as Cerrone’s, but his submission skills have looked top notch regardless, and he’d certainly prefer to grapple with ‘Cowboy’ than risk trading on the feet. The co-main event features two of Cerrone’s recent victims, as Dunham and Barboza have both suffered losses to the main eventer within the past year. Barboza acquitted himself better on the feet than Dunham in that bout, however the Brazilian’s chin has looked shaky at times in the past, which is quite worrying against a competent southpaw striker in Dunham. Barboza’s bigger worry should be Dunham’s wrestling and grappling, although the 32-year-old hasn’t finished a bout by submission since January 2010. Any Edson Barboza fight usually results in some phenomenal violence, and with neither of these fighters being particularly defensively savvy, that should be the case here as well. The other standout fight on the main card is a flyweight bout between John Lineker and Alptekin Ozkilic, two men who are both looking to rebound from losses in their last bout. Although he’s got a very different style from Barboza, Lineker’s fights tend to be riddled with offense as well, but his two problems have always been his conditioning and making weight the day before the fight. While weigh-ins are always something to keep an eye on with Lineker, cardio shouldn’t be a big factor in this bout, as Ozkilic fades as well. How Lineker deals with Ozkilic’s wrestling in the early rounds will likely determine the outcome of this bout which bodes well for the Brazilian, as aside from being taken down four times in four attempts against Ali Bagautinov in the the third round, his takedown defense has generally been quite stout. The main card, which airs on Fox Sports 1, also features a welterweight battle between Rick Story and Leonardo Mafra, lightweights Justin Salas and Joe Proctor, and Lucas Martins moving back up to featherweight to face Alex White. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for the main card of UFC Fight Night 45 today at Several Bookmakers. Take a look: ——————– MAIN CARD (Fox Sports 1, 9pm ET) Donald Cerrone -190 Jim Miller +150 Edson Barboza -280 Evan Dunham +200 Rick Story -380 Leonardo Mafra +260 Joe Proctor -140 Justin Salas +100 John Lineker -280 Alptekin Ozkilic +200 Alex White -135 Lucas Martins -105 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Jim Miller’s decline may have been vastly oversold after his losses to Nate Diaz and Pat Healy, but Donald Cerrone is a different class of fighter than the ones Miller has been schooling on the mat recently. Cerrone will have a massive advantage on the feet as well as being one of the few fighters who can hang with Miller on the ground. I can see Cerrone hurting Miller with a counter knee as the New Jersey native goes for a takedown and perhaps even finding a submission of his own, as he is one of the best in the world at that. It’s hard to have a ton of faith in Edson Barboza given some of his defensive liabilities, but after seeing how successful Cerrone was with various leg attacks against Evan Dunham, you have to think that a better, harder kicker in Barboza should turn Dunham’s legs into spaghetti noodles. There’s always the worry of Barboza’s opponent finding his chin, but Dunham hasn’t shown a great deal of power, so that mitigates my worries a bit. After losing on the TUF Brazil 1 Finale (aka UFC 147), Leonardo Mafra was cut from the UFC, but his five TKO wins in five appearances since have convinced Joe Silva to give him a second shot. Mafra’s problem here however is that Rick Story has one of the most tried and tested chins in MMA, and it would take something special to put him away. If he fails to do that, Story is a far better wrestler and overall grappler who should be able to dictate this fight. Story has only gone 3-5 since the run that almost saw him earn a UFC title shot, so he definitely needs a win here to get back on track, and he should get it. This just doesn’t seem like a main card bout, but hey, 2014. Salas knocked out Ben Wall in his last outing, and Proctor dominated Cristiano Marcello, so basically both proved they can beat guys who don’t belong in the UFC. I lean towards Salas because of his slightly better wrestling as well as having a bit more punching power, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Proctor can outpoint him in a few rounds to take a decision. Even if the line is drastic in either direction (which it shouldn’t be), I can’t see myself betting this fight. Ozkilic became one of the first flyweights to suffer from being overhyped and facing a talented newcomer in the still-developing 125lb division. He won’t have much expected of him against Lineker, and I think that’s a better spot for him as he may be able to give Lineker trouble with his wrestling early. Ozkilic can fade badly in fights however, and if that happens here — which is quite likely given Lineker’s penchant for working the body — and he gets stranded on his feet, things will not end well for him. I like Lineker, and think he gets the job done with another TKO. Lucas Martins dropping to bantamweight was a bit too drastic, so I’m glad he’s coming back up to 145 for this fight, and it should be an entertaining one between two tall, young southpaws who like to stay busy in the cage. White is a bit too wild at this point in his career to trouble top fighters, but Martins isn’t really the type to sit back and pick his shots either. I can see both guys throwing with very little regard for defense, and those are always hard fights to pick. I lean White ever so slightly but rather than going with a side, perhaps the under will offer value, although it may be set at 1.5, which would be tricky.