Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone is officially back on the horse.
Coming off a December loss that was arguably one of the most deflating of his career, Cerrone (29-7) defeated welterweight Alex Oliveira via submission at 2:33 in the first round. The 170-pound bout, Cerrone's debut in that weight class, headlined UFC Fight Night Sunday inside Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
Oliveira (13-4-1) had some success early on the feet but was in big trouble two minutes in after giving up a takedown. Cerrone quickly moved to a mounted triangle. Oliveira rolled over and put Cerrone on his back, but the choke sank in and Oliveira tapped immediately.
It was a beautiful bounce-back for Cerrone. The 32-year-old saw an eight-fight win streak snapped in December, when he suffered a first-round knockout loss to Rafael dos Anjos in a 155-pound championship fight.
For Oliveira, it was a respectable effort on short notice. The Brazilian agreed to fill in for Cerrone's original opponent, Tim Means, who was pulled from the event due to a potential doping violation.
"Thirtieth walk, how crazy is that?" said Cerrone, referring to his total number of appearances in the UFC and WEC. "He tapped. I was like, 'I better tell the ref he's tapping.' My hat is off to this dude. He took the fight against me on short notice and came out and fought hard. It's really cool to see someone step up and fight me."
Fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Cerrone ate some hard knees to the body from the clinch in the opening minute. Oliveira landed a straight right as well, which prompted Cerrone to start seeking a takedown. After one unsuccessful attempt at an outside trip, Cerrone got the takedown he wanted moments later.
One of the most active fighters in the UFC, Cerrone told ESPN.com earlier in the week that he's looking to fight as much as possible -- in either the 155- or 170-pound weight class. He reiterated that on Sunday.
"I get to do 55 and 70 now," Cerrone said. "Everybody: You want to get hurt? I know a guy."
The finish marks Cerrone's 16th win by submission, but first such win since April 2014. It's also his 16th win in the UFC.
Red-hot Brunson stops Carneiro
Fighting out of Jackson-Wink MMA, Brunson exchanged, wildly at times, with Carneiro and took advantage after Carneiro fell off-balance after throwing a haymaker.
Brunson kneeled over Carneiro near the fence and dropped ground-and-pound until referee Keith Peterson mercifully stepped in to stop the bout. Brunson is currently on a four-fight win streak.
Garbrandt blows through Mendes
Rising bantamweight contender Cody Garbrandt (8-0) scored a first-round knockout over late replacement Augusto Mendes (5-1), knocking him stiff with a three-punch combination at the 4:18 mark of their 142-pound catchweight bout.
Originally from Ohio and now fighting out of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California, Garbrandt was originally supposed to fight highly ranked John Lineker, but Lineker pulled out with an illness.
Garbrandt finished the fight with a straight right at the end of a combination for his his seventh knockout win and second in the UFC.
Bermudez surges late to edge Kawajiri
After allowing Kawajiri to outgrapple him at times early, Bermudez, out of New York, stuffed his takedowns later and lit Kawajiri up with strikes in close. He took the Japanese legend down in the final round and worked some ground-and-pound to seal it.
Camozzi scores quick KO of Riggs
Camozzi caught Riggs early with a right hand and then assaulted him with knees from the Thai clinch. Riggs blocked most of them but appeared to suffer a forearm injury in doing so.
Referee Mario Yamasaki was forced to step in and hand Camozzi the seventh knockout victory of his career.
Krause takes decision from Campbell
Krause proved to be too much for Campbell on the ground, as Krause took him down nearly at will and almost finished him in the first round before Campbell was saved by the bell.
Campbell mounted a late comeback and threatened with a rear-naked of his own, but it was too little too late. Krause is now on a two-fight win streak, including a first-round submission over Daron Cruickshank.