UFC on Fox 7 got an early start—4 p.m. on the East Coast of the United States. So perhaps fans can be forgiven if they were otherwise engaged when the preliminary card got rolling.
It's a good thing those fans have yours truly, though. Because this prelim card was one heck of a good prelim card. Six of the eight fights ended in a TKO or KO, with three ending with someone losing consciousness.
For those who didn't see them and those who did, here are quick recaps and a full ranking of every undercard fight, from Facebook to FX.
Result: Francis Carmont def. Lorenz Larkin by Unanimous Decision
Despite the unanimity among the judges, opinion was anything but out in the crowd and on the web-tubes. Carmont was technically the aggressor, keeping the center of the Octagon and going for takedowns throughout.
Problem is, he didn't really land many of those takedowns, and when he did, Larkin did just as much or more damage from the bottom than Carmont did from the top. Larkin was also the better striker throughout.
Carmont is a perfect 5-0 in the UFC, but he's not exciting and he has now received some judging charity. Not exactly a recipe for stardom, no matter the record.
Result: Jorge Masvidal def. Tim Means by unanimous decision
A well-contested bout went the way of UFC newcomer Masvidal. He was a little quicker and a little crisper throughout the contest, landing good strikes and takedowns throughout.
Means was good in the scramble and landed some shots of his own, but couldn't string anything together. Masvidal was fearless and impressive in his first time in the Octagon.
Result: T.J. Dillashaw def. Hugo Viana by TKO, 4:22 of Round 1
Decked out in his finest mutton chops, "Wolverine" Viana came out with bad intentions. But Dillashaw was ready, taking Viana's back in a ground scramble and later in the round sending a right hand down the pipe to begin the end. Viana was game, but Dillashaw was gamer.
Result: Chad Mendes def. Darren Elkins by TKO, 1:08 of Round 1
It didn't take Mendes very long to erase Elkins' five-fight UFC winning streak, along with all that momentum. Elkins is still a very good fighter, but Mendes is on another level.
Almost immediately, Mendes had Elkins on roller skates with his power, and a right hook to the temple was the final nail.
Result: Yoel Romero def. Clifford Starks by KO, 1:32 of Round 1
The first fight of the evening saw the night's first Knockout of the Night candidate when Romero landed a beautiful flying knee and finished the job with punches to start the evening off with a bang.
Result: Joseph Benavidez def. Darren Uyenoyama by TKO, 4:50 of Round 2
Wow. Is Duane Ludwig making a difference at Team Alpha Male or what? With their new striking coach in tow, Benavidez, Dillashaw and Mendes all won their bouts by KO or TKO, showing great standup throughout.
Benavidez's win may have been the most impressive. He took what he wanted, when he wanted from Uyenoyama, who is a fish out of water in the standup phase.
Benavidez landed a brutal kick to the liver, then followed it up with a punch to the same spot that crumpled Uyenoyama in pain.
Result: Anthony Njokuani def. Roger Bowling by KO, 2:52 of Round 2
Njokuani only needed one punch to pick up a needed UFC win. The perfectly timed left hook might mean a short UFC tenure for Bowling, who was making his Octagon debut Saturday after a long career in Strikeforce.
Meanwhile, in an undercard rife with terrific knockouts, this might have my vote for the best of the bunch, at least in the undercard.
Result: Myles Jury def. Ramsey Nijem by KO, 1:02 of Round 2
An accidental eye poke sullied this one just a bit. We'll probably never know how much that did or didn't affect the outcome, but we do know that Nijem rushed in and Jury ducked down and exploded as if spring loaded into a counter right that stiffened Nijem on the canvas.
The big knockout came on the heels of a high-level grappling display from both fighters in the first frame. Despite the eye poke, this was probably the best overall fight on the prelim slate.