Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight standouts Jim Miller and Michael Chiesa went to war last night (Thurs., Dec. 10, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 80 inside "The Cosmopolitan" in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Miller is the perfect an example of a grizzled veteran. He's no longer in the title hunt, but putting him opposite an up-and-comer or fellow member of the old guard is a surefire way to produce a great fight.
In this case, Chiesa fulfilled the role of prospect. The larger and younger fighter, Chiesa was looking to push the pace and bully his opponent.
He did just that.
After a minute or so of tentative exchanges, Chiesa scored an easy takedown from the clinch. From the half guard, Chiesa kept very tight top pressure and landed some small strikes.
Despite his excellent pressure, Miller used a kneebar to reverse Chiesa at about the halfway point in the round. From top position, he avoided a triangle choke and used the open guard to take his opponent's back. Though he failed to secure a rear naked choke, Miller did control his opponent until the end of the round.
Altogether, it was a fun round of grappling exchanges, but Miller's strong finish and dominant positions won him the first five minutes.
Both men scored with punches to start the round, but Chiesa soon landed another easy takedown. This time around, Chiesa began to find his opening to land big elbows, and he really wore through his opponent's attempts to play the rubber guard and made him pay for it.
Once again, Miller attempted to attack with a leg lock, and he actually had a solid position to finish the kneebar. However, Chiesa rolled and defended well, allowing him to come up and land some heavy punches while Miller attacked the leg.
These shots stunned the New Jersey-native, and he was clearly hurt. Miller tried valiantly to defend himself, but Chiesa managed to slip his arm under the neck and land his trademark rear naked choke.
This was a strong performance for Chiesa, who's really coming into his own. He's simply massive for the division, and his game of clinch takedowns to suffocating top control and submissions is a tough one to stop for even the veterans.
Chiesa's physicality played a large part in this fight. In each scramble or wrestling exchange, Chiesa was clearly the stronger man and prevailed most of the time. Then, his strikes landed with serious impact, which helped open up the finish.
Following this win, Chiesa requested a position inside the top 15 and a fellow ranked opponent, which seem to be reasonable requests. As he mentioned, Beneil Dariush does not have an opponent, and that would certainly be an interesting match up of strong grapplers.
Unfortunately for Miller, he's been on a slow slide for some time. The man has been in a lot of wars and has been competing professionally for some time. All of the effort adds up, and it's taken its toll on Miller.
Additionally, Miller has simply been smaller than most of his past opponents. If it's within his ability, a drop to featherweight could help Miller, as it wouldn't be quite so easy to muscle him around. If not, Miller needs a step back in competition, as the young up-and-comers are really starting to put a beating on him.
Last night, Michael Chiesa submitted Jim Miller in a strong showing. Can the submission ace go on a title run?
For complete UFC Fight Night 80 "VanZant vs Namajunas" results and play-by-play, click HERE!