Last night, the UFC set up shop at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., as lightweight notables Melvin Guillard and Jim Miller served their headlining duties for the organization's first foray on the FX network.
The show went off without a hitch, and many fighters saw their stock rise in their respective divisions.
Conversely, other fighters have plummeted in the rankings and will be fighting an uphill battle to remain relevant and indispensable in the talent-laden organization.
The towering Christian Morecraft looked to be getting the better of Pat Barry early, thanks to some dominant positions on the ground and a near fight-ending armbar.
However, Barry, the K-1 vet, turned the tides a few moments later, ducking a right hand from Morecraft and delivering a crushing left of his own. Some heavy shots on the ground sealed the knockout finish, which was Morecraft's second inside the Octagon.
The heavyweight entered the UFC with an unblemished record, but is now just 1-3 in his last four outings and is likely on the short list of men to be ousted from the promotion.
Barry finally was able to snap a two-fight skid with a resounding knockout victory over Christian Morecraft.
Had it not been for Nick Denis' thunderous elbows, Barry would have been a shoe-in for "Knockout of the Night," as he evaded some submissions early to connect on a hard left hook, which helped set up the first-round finish.
Barry will likely always run into the same problems as he continues to tangle with the big boys. His 5'11" frame will consistently make him the little kid who can only wade in the shallow end of the pool.
A move to the light heavyweight division would serve him well.
Had it not been for Morecraft and Barry's first-round thriller, bantamweights Jared Papazian and Mike Easton could be enjoying an additional $45k bonus.
He may be a UFC newcomer, but Papazian looked everything but intimidated when he stepped into the cage for the first time against the powerhouse that is Easton.
The two wily fighters stood toe-to-toe for the entire 15 minutes of action, which had the crowd roaring. In the end, Easton walked away with the decision win thanks to his constant aggression—though Papazian, the former KOTC champ, likely earned a mess load of fans along the way.
If you were looking for a good way to build upon a TKO victory in your UFC debut, an all-out war with an equally game fighter on the main card of the UFC's first endeavor on FX would probably be it.
Lloyd Irvin jiu-jitsu black belt Mike Easton showed that he has some serious striking skills to boot, as he stood in the pocket with Papazian for the full 15, using his aggression and thunderous hooks to edge the UFC newcomer by decision.
Easton is now 2-0 in the organization and should be given a notable opponent in his next outing.
As per UFC President Dana White, Duane Ludwig is the owner of the fastest knockout in the organization's history.
Early on in his bout with veteran Josh Neer, "Bang" looked to be well on his way to adding another finish to his illustrious highlight reel, attacking "The Dentist" with hard knees and punches galore.
However, Neer showed his underrated submission skills once again, locking up a tight guillotine choke, which sent Ludwig into unconsciousness shortly thereafter.
The loss snapped a two-fight win streak inside the Octagon for the 32-year-old.
After spending nearly two years away from the Octagon, Josh Neer has returned with a pair of resounding performances.
Successfully dismantling Keith Wisniewski with some hellish elbows earned Neer a co-main event slot with the heavy-hitting Duane Ludwig, who was 2-0 since moving back up to the welterweight class.
Neer was put on his heels early with some heavy leather from "Bang," though he eventually worked the fight to the floor where he quickly applied the guillotine choke, which yielded the finish shortly thereafter.
The victory further solidified his standing as one of the most underrated talents in the cage.
Put Neer against any game fighter, and you can always expect an exciting turn of events.
In the Joe Lauzon bout, you could chalk up the submission finish to Melvin Guillard's overzealous style of fighting.
However, against Jim Miller, it became apparent to all that the New Orleans native needs to put in some work in that dusty old gi.
"The Young Assassin" attacked early with some heavy shots, landing powerful knees on Miller, who stumbled to the canvas after a short hook from Guillard.
Just as the end seemed imminent, Miller managed to latch onto Guillard's back and expertly sink in the rear-naked choke, which elicited the tap inside of the first round.
Now the 28-year-old Guillard is on a two-fight skid and has plummeted from the top of the lightweight division.
Though Guillard gave Miller cause for concern early on, the New Jersey native remained vigilante in his approach and eventually got the job done.
Leaping knees and some winging hooks from Guillard had Miller reeling early, but the AMA fighter used his grappling prowess to find his opening and jump on the back of wily fighter.
Moments later, the arm was around the throat and a tap came shortly thereafter, as Miller cinched the rear-naked choke, which earned him "Submission of the Night" for his performance.
Now, Miller has won eight of his last nine bouts inside the Octagon and has deftly reasserted his claim to the top of the lightweight ranks with his stellar performance.