Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to FOX Sports 1 this past Saturday night (August 8, 2015) for an exciting UFC Fight Night 73: "Teixeira vs. Saint Preux" event, live from inside the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
In the main event, Glover Teixeira spoiled Ovince St. Preux's homecoming with a beautiful third round rear-naked choke finish (highlights here). The former No. 1 contender weathered the early storm from "OSP," and ultimately took over for the remainder of the fight with takedowns and crisp grappling.
In the co-main event, Michael Johnson was robbed of his victory against Beneil Dariush as the judges somehow saw the fight in favor of the Kings MMA product. The split decision will unquestionably go down as the worst of 2015 thus far.
Check out the scorecard here.
Biggest Winner: Glover Teixeira
After losing two straight fights via decision, Glover Teixeira put on an exceptional performance in Nashville to remind the rest of the Light Heavyweight division that he is still a force to be reckoned with.
Heading into enemy territory, the former No. 1 contender was nearly taken out in the first round due to a nasty liver shot courtesy of Ovince St. Preux.
Luckily for Teixeira, "OSP" spoiled his own party by throwing an errant body kick, allowing the Brazilian to catch it, take him down, and immediately transition into mount.
From then on, Teixeira's grappling and takedowns helped him secure the rear-naked choke victory in the third round.
After the fight, the No. 4-ranked Light Heavyweight did the smart thing by calling out UFC champion Daniel Cormier. While most wouldn't expect Teixeira to get the next title shot, it is important to remember the last two title challengers were coming off a loss.
In the wasteland that is the 205-pound division, truly anything can happen.
"The Lioness" came into UFC Fight Night 73 ranked No. 7 in the Women's Bantamweight division, and after running through former No. 1 contender Sara McMann, you can bet Amanda Nunes will be breaking into the top five next week.
Not many pundits picked Nunes to pull off the upset, but the Brazilian proved everyone wrong with her first round rear-naked choke against the Olympic wrestler.
And she did it in under three minutes, hardly breaking a sweat in the process.
Although Miesha Tate is guaranteed the next shot at Ronda Rousey, the Brazilian could prove to be a solid stand-in just in case "Cupcake's" third shot at "Rowdy" falls through.
Whether or not she will be fighting for the title anytime soon, Nunes is undoubtedly one of the very best 135-pound women in the sport today, and two straight finish victories has her stock soaring.
Derek Brunson is the real deal ladies and gentleman.
The former Strikeforce product that lost to Kendall Grove and Ronaldo Souza in back-to-back fights back in 2012 has since won five of his six UFC bouts, and is closing in on a top 10 spot in the stacked 185-pound division.
Coming off a lightning quick knockout over Ed Herman this past January, Brunson fought like he had somewhere else to be, battering Sam Alvey en route to his second straight first round knockout.
Although Brunson got the job done, he did fight a bit recklessly by exchanging wild haymakers with the powerful Alvey. When taking on the upper echelon of the Middleweight division, Brunson will need to take a much more measured approach.
Could a top 10 opponent be next?
Biggest Loser: Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson was robbed in Nashville last night.
After an exquisite performance against Beneil Dariush that exhibited Johnson's superb footwork, striking, and takedown defense, the judges somehow saw the fight in favor of Dariush by split decision.
There was no question about it, "The Menace" won the co-main event last night, no matter what the record will state.
This was another Ross Pearson vs. Diego Sanchez, and I expect UFC brass to move forward as if Johnson was handed the victory he absolutely earned.
Even though Johnson is technically in the "Losers" category, his performance in Nashville proved he has what it takes to compete against the best Lightweights in the world.
Perhaps a bout with Dariush's teammate, UFC champion Rafael Dos Anjos, is in the cards for 2016.
With Donald Cerrone vying for the belt next, Johnson could be looking at one or two more fights before a title shot. And you can bet he won't be leaving his next fight in the hands of the judges.
Runners-up: Ovince St. Preux
Even though Ovince St. Preux didn't get the victory in front of his home crowd last night, he did accomplish his goal of putting on a compelling fight for the fans.
Of course, a victory for "OSP" would have sent the Bridgestone Arena into a frenzy, but alas it was not meant to be.
St. Preux's relative inexperience and fight IQ really hurt him against Teixeira. With so much raw talent and athleticism at his disposal, St. Preux is often able to get away with a lot of technical mistakes.
Unfortunately, against a quality opponent like Teixeira, St. Preux's repeated errors ultimately meant his inevitable downfall.
You simply can't allow a jiu-jitsu black belt to take your back with no resistance, and you certainly must at least attempt to sprawl or defend takedown attempts.
Sure, there are some major holes for "OSP" to fix moving forward, but there are still a ton of middle of the road Light Heavyweights that would get starched by the Tennessee native, and I'd happily watch.
The Olympic Silver medalists' UFC career is circling the drain.
After getting pummeled by Ronda Rousey in their title fight back in February 2014, many hoped McMann would transition into a more competitive camp to improve her overall game, but her decision to train essentially independently has drastically cut her potential.
McMann has now dropped two straight following her loss to Amanda Nunes in Nashville, and her losing streak could very well be at three had the judges correctly granted Lauren Murphy the decision victory back at UFC Fight Night 47.
At 34-years old, McMann needs to make major changes quickly in order to stay relevant in the Women's Bantamweight division.
For complete results from UFC Fight Night 73: "Teixeira vs. Saint Preux," including play-by-play updates, click here.