The action was abundant tonight (Sat., April 16, 2016) as eight combatants locked horns as part of UFC on FOX 19's preliminary card at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
With highly-touted prospects, crafty veterans, and former title contenders on display, the "fights before the fights" offered a little bit of everything.
We take a look back at the action as we gear up for UFC on FOX 19's main card starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX (click here to find out how to watch).
170 lbs.: Randy Brown vs. Michael Graves
In a battle between two Welterweight prospects, TUF alum Michael Graves was simply too much for "Lookin' for a Fight" defector Randy Brown. After withstanding some strikes from Brown on the feet, Graves implemented a sensational ground game, taking "Rude Boy" down numerous times, peppering him with elbows, and securing the second-round rear naked choke finish. Brown didn't look completely lost in his second Octagon appearance, offering some solid defense and grappling off his back, but Graves' was simply too heavy in top control.
Michael Graves locks in a tight RNC and gets the tap! Big win for @UltimateFighter alum @GravesMMA #UFCTampa https://t.co/yLq5xi2MFp— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) April 16, 2016
170 lbs.: Court McGee vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
As someone who usually controls the Octagon, McGee found it very difficult to ward off the early advancements of Ponzinibbio, who came forward with heavy strikes from the opening bell. After eating some shots on behalf of McGee,
Ponzinibbio began to find a home for some great counters, eventually folding McGee in the first round and ending the fight by way of TKO. It was quite the performance for the Argentina product, who most certainly demonstrated his elite-level knockout power.
WOW! Santiago Ponzinibbio storms Court McGee with a barrage of strikes to earn a TKO victory #UFCTampa https://t.co/BOxWiFl0lH— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) April 16, 2016
135 lbs.: Bethe Correia vs. Raquel Pennington
In her first Octagon appearance since losing a title fight to Ronda Rousey last year at UFC 190, Correia was unable to ward off the inside work of Pennington, including sharp elbows and solid hooks off the break, ultimately losing via split decision. UFC color commentator Joe Rogan said this was a fight that could have been, "fought in a phone booth." While the loss will set the Brazilian back even further, she displayed great forward striking with combinations from the outside and a strong under hook against the cage. The victory gives Pennington her first two-fight win streak under UFC control and moves her closer to title contention.
Raquel Pennington remains one of the toughest outs in the BW division. Never an easy fight.#UFCTampa— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) April 16, 2016
155 lbs.: Beneil Dariush vs. Michael Chiesa
In a battle of top 15 hopefuls aiming to inch closer towards Lightweight title contention, former TUF winner Chiesa submitted grappling specialist and hard-nosed striker Dariush in Round 2. In the early going, Dariush began to butcher Chiesa's lead leg like he was chopping down a redwood. But in the second, Dariush started to fade and Chiesa caught wind, taking the Iranian down, taking his back, and working for the rear naked choke. It's an unbelievable finish for "The Maverick" over a contender like Dariush, especially considering Chiesa also recently tapped Jim Miller.
What a finish! @MikeMav22 submits Beneil Dariush with a nasty rear naked choke! #UFCTampa https://t.co/otR372WLgy— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) April 16, 2016
For UFC on FOX 19 main card coverage, play-by-play analysis, and more, click here.