Two former contestants on The Ultimate Fighter took center stage at UFC on FOX 4, as Cole Miller battled Nam Phan in the night's final preliminary bout.
Whether it is against Leonard Garcia, Mike Brown or Cole Miller, Nam Phan has a knack for turning his fights into high-octane slugfests.
In a fight that never hit the mat, Phan and Miller stood and traded bombs for the full 15 minutes, leaving the judges with a difficult decision.
Two out of three judges saw the fight for Phan, and he picked up his second UFC victory for the effort.
What We'll Remember From the Fight
Nam Phan is incredibly fun to watch, and Cole Miller is game to throw down. The two featherweights battled toe-to-toe for 15 minutes, and the real winner of this fight was the fans who watched.
Neither fighter showed the truly elite skills of the division's top dogs, but each proved that he deserves his spot on the UFC's roster.
Cole Miller is a hit-or-miss fighter, and he was crisp with his striking but a little lazy with his striking defense against Phan. Phan landed left hooks at will, and Miller's inability to avoid damage cost him the decision.
What we learned about Nam Phan
If you have seen Phan fight in the past, this fight taught you nothing new. The Vietnamese-American is an excellent boxer and he has a great chin, both of which were on display against Cole Miller.
For Phan, the win over Miller is certainly an achievement to be proud of, but it really did not show any new wrinkles or developments to his game.
What we learned about Cole Miller
Cole Miller is extremely tall for the featherweight division, and he used his reach effectively, but not often enough against Nam Phan.
Like with Phan, we really did not learn much from Miller. I would have liked to see him attempt to take the fight to the ground, but he played to Phan's strengths, and that decision cost him the fight.
For Miller, this fight was another example of his squandered potential. While he looked good and made the fight competitive for its duration, he did not show the brilliance he has flashed in his past performances.
What's next for Nam Phan
If the UFC brass is smart (and they are), Nam Phan is going to get another stand-up fighter in his next outing.
Phan is a solid fighter, but he is not good enough to contest the division's upper ranks, so a fight with the winner of Max Holloway and Justin Lawrence makes sense for him moving forward. That fight will almost surely take place on the feet, and it will be another potential fight of the night matchup.
What's next for Cole Miller
I always enjoy watching Cole Miller fight, but he is too often disappointing inside the Octagon.
Miller's well-rounded game makes him a threat wherever the fight goes, but he always seems to play to his opponent's strength instead of imposing his will and dictating the fight.
A loser-leaves-town matchup with Josh Grispi, who also lost earlier in the night, makes sense for Miller in his next bout.