Well folks, the prelims for today’s FOX card have come and gone, leaving behind a trail of finishes that set up terrific vibes for the remainder of the card. As a result, I will do something I have never done before: recap the prelim portion of a card.
After TUF 19 Middleweight winner Eddie Gordon (7-3) gassed out and dropped a split decision to Chris Dempsey (11-2) to open up the card, Diego Brandao (19-10) earned a doctor’s stoppage victory over Jimmy Hettes. The stoppage occurred right after round 1, and ended Brandao’s two-fight losing streak. The loss gave Hettes (11-3) his third in four fights, and could result in a “loser leaves town” bout in his next go-around, or a pink slip altogether.
In the final Fight Pass bout, Tim Means (24-6-1) garnered a late arm-triangle choke over George Sullivan (16-4, 1NC) to close out the Fight Pass prelims. The finish set up a televised prelim set that was expected to be an entertaining one, and fans were not left disappointed.
In the televised prelims, which aired on FOX for just the second time in UFC history, Aljamain Sterling took the lead, before pulling off a stunning arm triangle choke just over two minutes into the third round. What made it so spectacular was that he pulled off the submission from his own back, which is rarely seen in the sport. The win sent him to an 11-0 mark, while the loss for Mizugaki (20-9-2) gives him his second-straight loss, and ninth of his career.
In the next two prelim bouts, both of which took place in the Light Heavyweight division, Gian Villante (13-5) upset Corey “Beastin 25/8” Anderson (5-1) with a late knockout, earning the stoppage with just 42 seconds remaining in the fight. Then, after garnering mixed results against wrestler Pat Cummins, Ovince Saint Preux (18-6) landed a strong uppercut from point blank range, stunning Cummins (7-2). He followed up with punches, and garnered the finish with just six seconds remaining in the round. The win gives Saint Preux his fourth first-round finish inside the octagon, while Cummins saw his three-fight winning streak come to a halt.
The final prelim fight of the evening was an all out grapplefest, with Jim Miller (24-6, 1NC) and Beneil Dariush (11-1) constantly attempting submission on each other. In the end, Dariush held ground control for nearly two rounds, earning a unanimous decision victory. The win gives Dariush four-straight since his loss to Ramsey Nijem last April, and a 5-1 record inside the octagon. Meanwhile, Miller finds himself dealing with his second career losing streak.
All in all, it was a great prelim slate, both on paper and in reality. My record for the prelims was a mediocre 4-3, giving me a 2015 record of 91-43, with two no contests. Hopefully, I can pick myself up with the main card. Regardless, the card has been excellent viewing this far, and that’s what matters most.