UFC Fight Night 45 Main Event: Two top lightweights will duke it out in the main event of Wednesday’s fight night headliner, with the winner moving one step closer to no. 1 contender status. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Jim Miller have been on the same path toward achieving an opportunity to fight for the title but have struggled to find victory in bouts that would secure them a shot at the belt. Now that both men are set to collide at the top of the main card from the REVEL Casino in Atlantic City, NJ., there’s no better way to find out which one of these guys can hack it and who’s just a gatekeeper for the division’s elite.

Cerrone entered the UFC after a long run in the WEC and finished four opponents in a row. That was before he went toe-to-toe with Nate Diaz, where he found out quickly that it takes more than some kicks, heart and toughness to take out the best in the big leagues. He lost the fight by unanimous decision, but certainly showed the willingness to fight when put in deep waters, and once again put his heart on display and showed how well he can take a shot (or 258).

Cowboy would go on to defeat Jeremy Stephens and Melvin Guillard en route to his title eliminator fight with Anthony Pettis. But it wasn’t long before “Showtime” was dazzling him with an array of tricky moves as Cerrone just basically sat back in awe. But something seems to have clicked for him ever since that point. In the fight with KJ Noons, he seemed to be a lot more composed than he’s been in past fights and used his advantage in the grappling department appropriately. Not letting his opponent get too loose in the stand up before taking him down and continuing the assault on the floor using some vicious elbows.

That kind of game plan may not work so well against the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt in Miller, who has 13 submission wins to his credit.

The native of Wippany, New Jersey is great at chaining submissions together when fighting on the ground, but he’s mostly just tapped dudes with a rough history of getting submitted before. With both men having such a well rounded game, it’s hard to pick out where one fighter will find an advantage over the other in this one.

But I’m also seeing Cerrone being able to just run through Miller like it’s nothing.

He will definitely be the bigger lightweight between the two, has more knockout power, and can use distance and range to stay entirely offensive while this fight is standing. I also believe Cerrone has the bigger gas tank out of the two. We’ve seen him keep a high pace in fights and still continue on to do the same in the last round, whereas Miller sort of runs out of steam when he can’t put someone away.

This will most likely come down to who can be first. Miller’s standup is technical but can be wild at times. Cerrone will likely be the one to control the center more often than not as long as this fight is upright, and he’s also had more knockouts in recent years. Even if we see Miller push the pace early on, I don’t think he will throw anything the Cowboy’s battle tested armor hasn’t already deflected.

Prediction- Cerrone by Submission