Before the UFC 162: "Silva vs. Weidman" main card kicked off on pay-per-view (PPV) tonight (Sat., July 6, 2013) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, an entire six-bout "Prelims" under card was broadcast on Facebook and FX, respectively.
Andrew Craig capped off the UFC 162 preliminary card on FX with by far the biggest victory of his career in the form of a split decision over longtime Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight veteran Chris Leben. "Highlight" fought with a wise game plan of landing solid strikes from the clinch and countering Leben's famous wild attacks at range. Even when Craig nearly finished "The Crippler" after a knockdown and ground-and-pound in the third round, he remained calm and stuck to his strategy until the final bell. It was a razor-thin battle going into the final stanza, but Craig's knockdown and takedowns gave him the third and ultimately the fight. Leben displayed the same warrior's heart as he has every time he's stepped foot in the Octagon over the years, but unfortunately his younger foe was too much to handle and the original badboy from The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show is now on a career-worst three-fight losing streak.
Norman Parke and Kazuki Tokudome went the distance in arguably the most exciting bout on the preliminary card with TUF: Australia vs. UK lightweight winner earning his first post-TUF victory by way of decision. It was a gritty 15-minute affair between two evenly matched competitors, but it was Parke's accurate striking that gave him the advantage. Some of the kicks and punches landed by the Irishman would have stopped a lesser opponent. Not Tokudome, though. The Japanese fighter took everything Parke threw his way, and while his durability and stamina was impressive, trying to absorb damage while pushing forward is not the most effective strategy when it comes to the judges. Ultimately Parke's work in the first two round gave him the advantage as the 26-year-old walked away with a clear victory.
Gabriel Gonzaga proved he is not done yet with an absolutely incredible 17-second knockout of Dave Herman in the lone heavyweight contest on the UFC 162 fight card. The fight was short and sweet as in the first exchange Gonzaga landed a powerful overhand right that sent Herman crumpling to the mat. It appeared that "Napao" could be near the end of his career after a quick knockout loss to Travis Browne in his last fight; however, he rebounded with one of the most memorable performances of his 16-fight UFC career.
The opening fight of the FX portion of the preliminary card was a display of kicking violence by Edson Barboza as the Brazilian stopped an overmatched Rafaello Oliveira with leg kicks in the second round. From the opening bell, the fight was nothing more than an exhibition of Barboza's skills. The 27-year-old landed 23 devastating leg kicks over the course of the contest and at the 1:44 mark of the second round, a thunderous shot buckled Oliveira's unstable leg and he could not stand on his own, forcing referee Herb Dean to make the decision to stop the fight. Barboza is the first fighter in UFC history to win two fights by leg kick (technical) knockout and appears to be getting more dangerous each time he steps in the cage.
Brian Melancon made waves in his UFC debut when he took out the highly regarded Seth Baczynski by knockout with just one second remaining in the first round. Melancon was all over Baczynski from the opening bell as he used forward pressure and accurate striking to hurt his opponent. The first sign of trouble for Baczynski came half way through the round when he was knocked down, but he recovered while Melancon kept his composure and biding his time to attack once again. With just seconds left and Baczynski on his back, Melancon came in with a ruthless onslaught of ground-and-pound that put Baczynski to sleep and marked the end of the fight.
After a horribly dull opening round in the first fight of the UFC 162 fight card on Facebook, Mike Pierce woke the crowd up with a second-round (technical) knockout victory over David Mitchell with the help of a perfectly placed left hook. Pierce did what he does best in the first seven minutes of the contest, clinching Mitchell against the fence and wearing him down. The finish came during a break from the clinch when Pierce knocked Mitchell down with the hook and finished the fight with hammer fists for his fourth consecutive victory.
Here are the complete results from UFC 162 preliminary card:
185 lbs.: Chris Leben vs. Andrew Craig - Craig wins via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
155 lbs.: Norman Parke vs. Kazuki Tokudome - Parke wins via unanimous decision (30-27x2, 29-28)
155 lbs.: Edson Barboza vs. Rafaello Oliveira -- Barboza wins via TKO (leg kicks) at 1:41 of round two
265 lbs.: Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Dave Herman -- Gonzaga wins via TKO (punches) at 0:17 of round one
170 lbs.: Seth Baczynski vs. Brian Melancon -- Melancon wins via knockout (punches) at 4:59 of round one
170 lbs.: David Mitchell vs. Mike Pierce -- Pierce wins via TKO (punches) at 2:55 of round two
That's it for the "Prelims" portion of UFC 162 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 162 main card action by clicking here.