Last night's (Nov. 6, 2013) UFC Fight Night 31: "Fight for Troops 3" event in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, featured a lightweight showdown between Michael Chiesa and Colton Smith to kick off the FOX Sports 1 telecast.
Both fighters won a season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), and both are known for their excellent skills on the mat. Their bout at "Fight for Troops 3" delivered as advertised, turning into a rousing display of mixed martial arts (MMA) action from the opening bell. Each fighter had the other in serious danger at different points throughout.
In the end, TUF 15 winner Chiesa notched a submission over Smith to fight on in the talented Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight division. Let's take a look back at Chiesa's impressive victory from Fort Campbell.
The bout began quickly with a small kickboxing exchange before Smith slammed Chiesa to the mat. Chiesa pulled off a slick reversal to take Smith's back and look for a rear naked choke.
Smith was in trouble, but he weathered the storm.
He got back to his feet to quickly transition to Chiesa's back. Smith got another takedown and looked to finish the bout with a choke of his own. He very nearly had it, but Chiesa slammed him to the mat back first and slithered out of harm's way. The fighters showed a mutual display of respect for each other as the exciting back-and-forth first round came to a close.
The second round was much more decisive.
Chiesa scored a good throw that sent Smith crashing headfirst to the canvas. From there, he quickly locked up a tight rear naked choke, forcing Smith to tap out.
For Chiesa, the win regains some of the momentum he lost when Jorge Masvidal choked him out at UFC on FOX 8 last July. He sits with an impressive 10-1 record and has three submission wins in UFC. Chiesa's grappling can give many lightweights fits, and he's shown an extreme amount of heart and resiliency since his time on TUF.
"Maverick" will receive a noted step up in competition for his next fight. Chiesa isn't ready for anyone close to the top 10 quite yet. His relative inexperience showed against a veteran like Masvidal. Still, his skills show he has definite potential.
If he can continue to improve his striking game, Chiesa could make waves in 2014.
It's a disheartening loss for Smith, who failed to capitalize on a huge opportunity to perform for his military brethren in Fort Campbell. His record isn't all that impressive at 3-3, so he'll need to win convincingly in his next fight to stay employed. Smith has been finished in his last two bouts so he's definitely on thin ice.
He may have reached his ceiling on TUF by winning five straight decisions. Smith has proved to be a bit one-dimensional. It's not a good sign to see him lose at his strong point.
That's just not going to cut it inside the Octagon, so we'll see if he gets another chance at redemption.
Michael Chiesa continued to show effective submission skills at "Fight for Troops 3" by choking out Colton Smith. What's next for the rising "Maverick?"
For complete UFC Fight Night 31 results, including play-by-play of the entire fight card click here. For recaps, videos, highlights, commentary and more from Wednesday night's FOX Sports 1 event check out our "Fight for Troops 3" live story stream here.