The preliminary card for UFC 154 was dominated by fights going the distance.
Four of the seven prelim fights went the distance and only one of them was competitive. That fight was Antonio Carvalho's split decision win over Rodrigo Damm. To be fair and truthful, the fight was a split decision and so close because neither fighter did much of anything to distance themselves from the other and create no doubt in the judge's mind. Not to mention that the fight itself didn't feature much action on the ground or standing. So it wasn't so much a great competitive fight that was close to the end as much as it was a fight with nothing noteworthy transpiring for fifteen minutes.
The other prelim fights that went to decision were one-sided affairs. Darren Elkins opened the card with a three rounds to none unanimous decision win over Steven Siler. Later, Matt Riddle gained a unanimous decision over John Maguire as did John Makdessi over Sam Stout, both of which were almost identical on the scorecards to Elkins' win.
Patrick Cote earned a victory over Alessio Sakara in the final prelim of the night, but got it when Sakara was disqualified for repeated blows to the back of Cote's head. This occurred when Sakara was attempting to finish Cote.
This was a wild minute and a half brawl between the two. Cote immediately got the upper hand with a few standing combinations that did damage. Sakara's attempt to get away lead him to be against the cage eating a few uppercuts from Cote before turning the tide. Sakara did this with some very nice elbows he landed on Cote after he was able to pin Cote against the cage.
But this is where things got a little hairy. The elbows did their job and Cote ended up being floored by a combination of a left hook and an elbow from Sakara. However, Cote was still clinging to one of Sakara's legs when he got to the canvas, trying to either slow Sakara down or gain some leverage and try to get back to his feet. Sakara proceeded to rain down hammerfists right to the back of Cote's head over and over again before the fight was stopped 1:26 into the opening round.
Sakara and everyone else initially thought the fight was over and Sakara had a TKO victory, but referee Dan Miragliotta ruled Cote the winner because of the repeated blows, illegal by the unified rules of MMA that UFC uses. Hopefully there will be a rematch to settle the issue as a finish like this doesn't help either fighter.
Cyrille Diabate welcomed Chad Griggs to the light heavyweight division by choking him out less than three minutes into their bout.
Griggs came in charging, looking to land a big kick early, but instead walked right into a straight left from Diabate that put him on the canvas. Diabate kept the fight there and was eventually able to lock in a rear naked choke tight to gain the submission.
Of the two submission wins on the preliminary card, Ivan Menjivar's submission of Azamat Gashimov was by far the more impressive looking one.
Around the half way point in the opening round of the bout, Menjivar was able to roll his legs over and trap Gashimov's right arm in position for an armbar. Gashimov made the mistake of attempting to lift Menjivar up, and that was all Menjivar needed to turn his body and lock in the armbar. Once Menjivar's body was back on the canvas, Gashimov had no choice and submitted.
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