We are moments away from some of the most highly anticipated fights of the year. But first, let us round up the "Prelims" fights that took place on earlier tonight at UFC 168: "Weidman vs. Silva 2."
Live from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, the "Prelims" portion included some of the most intriguing fights to open up any fight card in quite some time.
In a battle of former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) contestants, Uriah Hall looked outstanding against the gritty Chris Leben, who this evening could have fought his last fight in the Octagon.
Hall stormed out with a flying knee and dropped Leben right off the bat. Leben recovered, while Hall was looking comfortable. Leben spent the majority of the opening moments to chase Hall, who kept his distance and countered the TUF 1 alum every time he came in. Hall was doing well by peddling backward, thrwing plenty of kicks to the body. Leben was looking for bombs, and Hall clocked him with a good left hand. At the end of the first round, Hall dropped Leben with a devastating right punch, and Hall swarmed on him. Leben was saved by the bell, but he looked like he was out of it.
During commercial break, Leben said he was done on the stool ... and the fight was stopped.
Hall gets his first UFC win.
In the "Prelims" co-main event, Michael Johnson blasted through Gleison Tibau, beating him to the punch (literally) with a second-round knockout.
Johnson was moving well to commence things, and Tibau was staying right in front of him fearlessly, trading punches. Tibau was able to catch Johnson with a nice right hand, and then grappled him against the fence. They broke apart, and they started to trade again. Johnson wobbled Tibau with a right hand, and went to the body right after. The Brazilian faithful in the crowd was definitely behind Tibau, who's striking looked vastly improved. They both had a go in the striking department, with no clear winner of the round.
In the second round, the fight became the fastest-paced contest on the card, with Johnson working his jab and Tibau keeping up. As Tibau kept chasing, Johnson landed a left hand to the temple and followed up after Tibau dropped -- knocking him out cold.
Johnson gets his seventh career knockout, and improves to 2-2 in his last four.
Dennis Siver was able to edge Manvel Gamburyan by unanimous decision in a fairly close fight.
Gamburyan was very aggressive in the opening moments, and threw a combination Siver's way. Siver took Gamburyan down shortly after, and Gamburyan tried his luck at an armbar on Siver's left arm. Gamburyan was doing well off of his back, and eventually made his way back up. Siver kept on clocking Gamburyan with a left kick, to the body and to the head a few times. Siver took Gamburyan's back towards the end of the round with a standing body triangle, although he did not have enough time to do significant damage.
Siver tagged Gamburyan in the opening moments of the second round, dropping Gamburyan who got back up immediately and motioned with his hands for his opponent to come his way. Gamburyan landed a takedown, and found himself in Siver's guard and opened up his opponent. Back on their feet, Siver continued to work with kicks and Manny just missed with a spinning high kick. Gamburyan landed another double leg, securing him the round.
In the third round, both featherweights continued after an accidental groin strike by Siver, and the European took Gamburyan down moments later and worked the body. Gamburyan kept on looking for the armbar, and Siver took Gamburyan's back after a roll. Looking for the submission, Siver could not secure the choke and Gamburyan stayed active despite spending the majority of the round fighting off Siver's attempt.
The first fight on FS1 featured John Howard and Siyar Bahadurzada, with the former earning the unanimous decision.
Both welterweights started off stiff, with both exchanging leg kicks. Howard threw the first punch, and avoided the counter. Both were very patient with each other, and "Doomsday" tried his luck at a takedown, but it did not work. A wild exchange from the two set up a takedown from Howard, and almost took Bahadurzada's back before the Afghani fighter stood up.
Howard caught Bahadurzada seconds into the second round with a left hook, and they threw bombs at each other for a few seconds. Bahadurzada took Howard down and tried to work from top position, although he could not improve his positioning and let Howard back up. Both athletes slowed down immensely, and it was becoming a dirty fight fast. Looking for an armbar, Bahadurzada had Howard up against the fence defending, and Howard picked up his opponent in a move reminiscent of a torture rack, and slammed Bahadurzada head first on the mat. The horn sounded shortly after.
Howard landed another left hook moments after they were summoned to fight, and Bahadurzada heavy on the feet. Howard took Bahadurzada down, and "Doomsday" mounted to his feet and started to pound his foe with short right hands. Howard continued to smother Bahadurzada on the ground, and secured the hooks while aiming to submit his opponent with a rear naked choke. He could not find it, although he did successfully close out the fight to his favor.
Howard earned his fourth straight win, and won his 22nd fight.
Voelker comes out and starts throwing early, with Macario being the more patient fighter. "Patolino" caught Voelker with a straight right and an uppercut, but Voelker retaliates with a right of his own. Another right hand from Macario, and worked on Voelker who was against the fence. Voelker stormed back though, yet he was taking more damage from the technically sound Brazilian. Macario threw over 40 strikes in the first round, before taking him down.
Voelker pushed forward again in the second round, and looked slightly more confident. The pace was slower, and Voelker could not significantly land his punches because of Macario's slick head movement. A relaxed "Patalino" had Voelker against the fence and threw accurate, powerful punches and knees -- with Voelker busted up wide open. Yamasaki halted the action to inspect the cut, which had blood pouring down Voelker's chest.
"Patolino" stayed away from Voelker's bombs in the third round, and Voelker's face was a complete mess. Towards the end of the round, Macario caught Voelker with a massive right hand, followed by an elbow and an attempt at a spinning back fist -- which almost landed flush. Credit Voelker's heart for staying in there, after being completely dominated and outclassed for three rounds.
The Brazilian earns his first UFC victory and improves to 7-1 in the sport.
In the night's opening contest, which kicked off the online portion of the "Prelims," Robbie Peralta earned his 13th career knockout over Estevan Payan.
Both started out light on the feet, looking for an opening early. Peralta threw a powerful combination and caught Payan with a solid left. Peralta then took Payan down, and worked while they were against the fence. Payan made his way back up and started to throw knees to the body while they were clinched together, and Peralta took him down again. Payan reversed Peralta while the latter was trying to mount him, working with short elbows in side control.
Peralta opened up the second round with leg kicks, and Payan was looking to counter every time "Problems" came forward. Payan was more active with the jab, but Peralta was throwing heavy leather, until Payan took him down with double under hooks and ended up in side control yet again.
In the third round, Peralta stormed out of the gate and caught Payan with a left hand just seconds in, and threw bombs until his foe dropped. Yves Lavigne stepped in after Payan was taking unanswered shots on the bottom.
Peralta returns to winning ways and secures his third UFC victory.
Here are the full UFC 168 "Prelims" quick results:
185 lbs.: Uriah Hall vs. Chris Leben -- Hall wins by TKO (corner stoppage) at 5:00 R2
155 lbs.: Michael Johnson vs. Gleison Tibau -- Johnson wins by knockout (punches) at 1:32 R2
145 lbs.: Manny Gamburyan vs. Dennis Siver -- Siver wins by unanimous decision (29-28x3)
185 lbs.: Siyar Bahadurzada vs. John Howard -- Howard wins by unanimous decision (30-27x3)
170 lbs.: William Macario vs. Bobby Voelker -- Macario wins by unanimous decision (30-27x3)
145 lbs.: Estevan Payan vs. Robbie Peralta -- Peralta wins by knockout (punches) at 0:12 R3.
That is it for the "Prelims" portion.
For full UFC 168: "Weidman vs. Silva 2" results and updates click here.