Before the UFC 160: "Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2" main card kicked off on pay-per-view (PPV) tonight (Sat., May 25, 2013) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, an entire seven-bout "Prelims" under card was broadcast on Facebook and FX, respectively.
In the headlining bout of the UFC 160 "Prelims" under card on FX, Mike Pyle took a very narrow -- albeit defendable -- split decision victory over Rick Story after three rounds of competitive welterweight action. A massive left hand in the first round that dropped "Quicksand" was the high point of the fight for Story, but after that neither man was able to accomplish anything truly significant. In the second and third stanzas, Pyle gave a scare to "Horror" when he threatened with some solid strikes and submission attacks, which ultimately the judges viewed as enough to take the decision. The fight truly could have gone either way, but on this night Pyle god the nod and is now on his first four-fight win-streak since 2008.
The most controversial of the seven preliminary card bouts featured Dennis Bermudez being awarded a debatable split decision victory Max Holloway in a featherweight contest. At the end of the three-round bout, it seemed fairly obvious that Holloway had won the first two rounds while Bermudez took the third. Unfortunately for Holloway and his supporters, though, two of the three judges scoring the bout didn't see it that way. A majority of the fight was controlled by "Blessed" as his technical striking ability and much improved defensive grappling allowed him to score points. As for Bermudez, he essentially failed on offense for the first two rounds and in the third was finally able to achieve success. Color-commentator Joe Rogan called the decision "puzzling" when it was announced, and it's safe to say a majority of the viewers felt the same way.
In the clash between winners of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show, TUF: Smashes winner Robert Whittaker defeated season 16 winner Colton Smith by third-round (technical) knockout after a much better fight than many expecting coming in. Smith is known as a fighter who relies on a relentless wrestling attack; however, with Whittaker's strategy of keeping his hands low to protect from the takedowns was enough to neutralize Smith's ground skills. From there it was essentially a stand up fight where each man had their moments, but in the third round Smith made the mistake of charging forward recklessly and walked into a perfectly placed counter punch from Whittaker. Smith went down and tried to defend himself, but after a few more shots referee Chris Tognoni decided he had seen enough and called an end to the fight. Whittaker is now 2-0 under the UFC banner and at only 22 years of age is one of the more promising TUF winners to come out of any recent season.
Undefeated Russian sensation Khabib Nurmagomedov opened the FX portion of the UFC 160 preliminary card with a one-sided decision victory over Abel Trujillo to improve his UFC record to 4-0 and his overall MMA record to an astonishing 20-0. The 24-year-old is proving with every performance in the Octagon that he is the real deal and in this latest performance it was his colossal grappling advantage that led him to victory. Trujillo had no answer for Nurmagomedov's throws from the clinch position and once it got to the ground was relatively helpless. "Killa" was good enough defensively to avoid being finished in the fight, but it only prolonged the beating in yet another impressive win for "The Eagle."
The third and final preliminary card bout to stream on Facebook saw Stephen Thompson outpoint Nah-Shon Burrell in an essentially all-striking contest en route to a unanimous decision win. After a yearlong layoff, "Wonderboy" showed some improvements to his game since losing to Matt Brown with a strategy that composed of creating distance, pressuring his opponent against the fence and waiting for openings to land his highly unique karate style strikes. Burrell put up a valiant effort in defeat, but he simply could not create enough offense over the course of 15 minutes to swing the judges in his favor and Thompson was awarded the second UFC victory of his career.
Brian Bowles made his highly anticipated return to the Octagon in the lone bantamweight contest on the UFC 160 fight card; however, the result was not one many expected as the underdog George Roop upset the former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) champion for a second-round (technical) knockout victory. Bowles looked solid in the first round of the bout, landing his trademark right hand and knocking Roop to the ground on two occasions. He couldn't finish the fight, though, and in the second round Roop came out as the far more determined competitor of the two. The 31-year-old hurt Bowles with a jab, followed up with an onslaught of punches on the ground and referee Herb Dean stopped the fight, giving Roop one of, if not the biggest win of his nearly eight-year career.
In the opening fight of the UFC 160 fight card on Facebook, Jeremy Stephens made his featherweight debut in successful fashion with a unanimous decision victory over Estevan Payan in one of the bloodiest fights in UFC history. Stephens entered the fight on a career-worst three-bout skid and desperately needed a victory to stay employed with the UFC. Fortunately, he got the job done with a disciplined offensive attack all the way around along with the help of an elbow in the first round that opened a faucet-like cut on the head of "El Terrible." Stephens was able to take all three rounds handily for his first win since June 2011.
Here are the complete results from UFC 160 "Prelims" under card:
170 lbs.: Mike Pyle vs. Rick Story - Pyle wins via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
145 lbs.: Dennis Bermudez vs. Max Holloway -- Bermudez wins via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
170 lbs.: Colton Smith vs. Robert Whittaker -- Whitaker wins via TKO (punches) at 0:41 of round three
155 lbs.: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Abel Trujillo -- Nurmagomedov wins via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
170 lbs.: Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Stephen Thompson -- Thompson wins via unanimous decision (29-28x2, 30-27)
135 lbs.: Brian Bowles vs. George Roop -- Roop wins via TKO (punches) at 1:43 of round two
155 lbs.: Estevan Payan vs. Jeremy Stephens -- Stephens wins via unanimous decision (30-26 x2, 30-27)
That's it for the "Prelims" portion of UFC 160 fight card.
Be sure to hit up MMAmania.com's for up to the minute results and blow-by-blow coverage of the rest of the night's 160 main card action by clicking here.