Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, TONIGHT (Sat., Nov. 16, 2013) for UFC 167: "St. Pierre vs. Hendricks."
Before the pay-per-view (PPV) action commenced, the Facebook and FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" under card matches began the celebration early for UFC's 20th Anniversary show, delivering a suite of entertaining fights, including successful UFC debutants, as well as familiar faces returning to winning ways.
In the featured "Prelims" main event, Donald Cerrone was able to submit Evan Dunham with a triangle choke in the second round.
Both Lightweight mainstays began to trade on their feet after Dunham was unsuccessful with an early takedown. Cerrone tagged Dunham with a knee and swarmed his foe, dropping him and following him to the mat. Dunham was able to spin out but found himself in two submission attempts before Cerrone gained superior positioning. Dunham ate another knee as they both found themselves on their feet, with Dunham's left eye looking pretty damaged.
Dunham started to improve on the feet in the second round, while Cerrone started to work on the body. The combinations from Dunham were not landing clean yet he was able to get a couple of good shots in, but Cerrone was able to connect with more power and continued to bloody his foe's eye. With Dunham successfully securing a takedown, he was caught in a triangle choke and Cerrone was able to get a second-round submission victory.
Former No. 1-ranked Middleweight title challenger Thales Leites continued to look impressive in his second UFC stint, defeating Ed Herman via unanimous decision.
Herman was tagged and dropped early on by Leites, who followed his opponent to the mat. Looking good in the ground and pound department, Leites worked on Herman by using his superior ground game and secured his opponent's back but could not do anything significant, with both fighters on their feet by the round's end.
Herman was able to land some good shots at the beginning of the second round, however Leites' gameplan was to go for the takedown and he was respecting it. They had a grueling exchange towards the fence until the Brazilian took down his opponent once more.
Both fighters were exhausted in the third round, and Herman started to find his range with his striking. Ultimately he was no match for his opponent, who's excellent jiu-jitsu was the determining factor in this contest.
The craftiest chest hair trimmer in all of the sport, Brian Ebersole walked into his 68th career fight on Saturday night, yet he was on the receiving end of a unanimous decision loss, courtesy of Rick Story.
Story went for a takedown immediately, but it was stuffed from his opponent. Story continued to throw heavy leather towards Ebersole's direction, landing his left hand continuously.
"Horror" was unsuccessful in landing the takedown, yet he continuously was able to land his punches and Ebersole was not able to keep up with his foe. Ebersole did however land a few solid elbows and found minimal openings. A wild exchange at the end of the second round saw Ebersole eat a big right hand but dropped Story in the process.
The first takedown of the fight went to Story at the beginning of the third round, although Ebersole was able to rise to his feet quickly. Story never quit bringing the pressure, throwing left bombs and legkicks. Buckling Ebersole with his left, Story landed another powerful leg kick that dropped Ebersole late in the round.
Commencing the action on FS1, 23-year old Erik Perez was able to outlast Edwin Figueroa in a unanimous decision victory.
Figueroa was coming on strong, setting up combinations until "Goyito" landed a powerful left kick to the groin, which halted the action. The two Bantamweight up-and-comers slugged it out shortly after by exchanging strikes at the center of the Octagon, with the highlight being Perez rocking "El Feroz" backward with a front kick and landing a takedown.
Perez landed a massive right hand in the second round, and he continued to pour on the onslaught and proceeded to slam his opponent down to the ground. Figueroa was able to get back up and started to trouble Perez with his own power shots but was taken down again, finishing the round off of his back.
Perez and Figueroa did stand and bang however it was not the slugfest we anticipated, with Perez utilizing his takedowns in this fight and worked on top of "El Feroz" for the majority of the third round as well.
In the Facebook headlining fight, Jason High was able to topple promotional newcomer Anthony Lapsley, with his takedowns and grappling proving to be the difference.
High wasted no time in taking down Lapsley, working his way to full mount and tried to work a rear naked choke but to no avail. Lapsley was in defensive mode for the entire round, with High controlling his opponent and sticking to him like glue on the mat.
The Strikeforce and DREAM alumni did much of the same in the second round, trying to lock in a guillotine choke until Lapsley successfully defended the submission and winded up on top of his opponent. Lapsley was able to keep High down, but did not trouble him too much.
Lapsley landed a good right hand at the beginning of the third round, and then was taken down by High and suffered the same frustration he did in the first. Lapsley was able to take his opponent's back in the last minute, but got anxious and slipped out of position -- gifting his opponent with dominant positioning as the fight ended.
"The Phenom" made his anticipated Octagon debut, as Sergio Pettis locked horns with Will Campuzano, who stepped up on short notice and proved to be more than just a stepping-stone. Anthony's little brother made a successful however not necessarily impressive debut.
Both fighters tried to feel each other out in the opening seconds before Campuzano landed a takedown and survived a guillotine. Pettis looked good off his back, and was very technically sound off the ground. He did not let his veteran opponent capitalize on the mat.
Pettis was able to turn the tables in the second round and took Campuzano down, sneaking in a power guillotine and then transitioned to a kimura. Both submission attempts proved unsuccessful, and Campuzano landed in Pettis' guard and patiently set up attacks.
"The Phenom" went for another power guillotine in the third round, although he could not secure the submission and was taken down shortly after. Campuzano was able to dominate Pettis for nearly the whole round on the mat, until Pettis was able to get back on his feet and ended the round with a takedown of his own.
The first fight of the evening featured two light heavyweights looking to get this first Octagon victory, with Gian Villante defeating Cody Donovan by landing a big right hand his opponent could not recover from.
The first round started with "Donnybrook" throwing down heavily, with two headkicks and solid right hands landing on his opponent. Villante looked slower than his Serra-Longo fight team adversary and was able to land a takedown, although he was quick to let up his opponent.
Villante was sneaking in hard shots of his own, busting up "Donnybrook" open early in the second round. As Donovan went for a headkick with his right leg, Villante blazed forward with a powerful right hand, dropping Donovan and followed up with punches until Kim Winslow stepped in to call an end to the fight.
Here are the full results from UFC 167's 'Prelims':
Evan Dunham vs. Donald Cerrone -- Cerrone wins by submission (triangle choke) at 3:49 of round two.
Ed Herman vs. Thales Leites -- Leites wins by unanimous decision (30-27x3)
Brian Ebersole vs. Rick Story -- Story wins by unanimous decision (30-27x3)
Edwin Figueroa vs. Erik Perez -- Perez wins by unanimous decision (30-27x3)
Jason High vs. Anthony Lapsley -- High wins by unanimous decision (29-28x3)
Sergio Pettis vs. Will Campuzano -- Pettis wins by unanimous decision (30-27x2, 29-28)
Cody Donovan vs. Gian Villante -- Villante wins by TKO (punches) at 1:22 of round two.
That's it for the UFC 167 "Prelims" fights.
But, the real action is just getting started ...
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 167 card this Saturday night (Nov. 16, 2013), starting with the Facebook "Prelims," which are scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised under card bouts at 8 p.m. ET and then main card PPV action, which is slated to begin at 10 p.m. ET.