Before the marquee names at UFC 159 did their thing on the pay-per-view card, several hungry fighters made statements on the undercard in Newark, NJ.
In all, six fights went down over the FX and Facebook broadcasts. Fans who tuned in were treated to some entertaining clashes.
Steven Siler and Cody McKenzie picked up key decision vicories on the Facebook-streamed fights. Bryan Caraway scored a mild upset with a submission victory over Johnny Bedford. Ovince St. Preux and Rustam Khabilov picked up wins in fights that were shortened by injuries.
In women's action, Sara McMann scored a dominant TKO victory over Sheila Graff.
Let's take a closer look at Saturday night's biggest undercard winners.
Dana White loves guys who are willing to step in on short notice. When fighters go down with injuries, White has to scramble to find replacements, and that job is a lot easier when other fighters are ready to step up.
Not only did Caraway do well for himself by stepping in to fight Johnny Bedford on six days' notice, he capitalized in a big way.
Bedford is no slouch. Caraway held his own throughout the fight and ended up finishing things when the opportunity presented itself.
Considering that the division is still in its infancy in the UFC, it doesn't take much to shoot up the ladder in the women's bantamweight division. But McMann did it in style.
The former Olympic silver medalist made her UFC debut against Sheila Graff, and she couldn't have looked more dominant. Mere seconds into the fight, McMann planted Graff on the canvas and immediately went to work.
A few minutes later and McMann had dominated the entire fight and finished Graff from the crucifix position. As ESPN's Josh Gross observed, McMann showed that she has a ton of potential going forward.
Slick crucifix by Sara McMann leads to a first round stoppage over Sheila Gaff. Olympian needs some seasoning, but a fine debut in the UFC.— Josh Gross (@JoshGrossESPN) April 28, 2013
When Cody McKenzie and Leonard Garcia took to the cage on the Facebook prelims, it was likely a loser-leaves-town match. Garcia entered the fight on a four-fight losing streak, and McKenzie had just suffered a brutal knockout loss to Chad Mendes.
McKenzie made certain that it would be Garcia who gets a pink slip at the end of the night. Chad Dundas felt that it was one of McKenzie's best performances to date.
File this among phrase I thought I might never use: Solid UFC win for Cody McKenzie.— Chad Dundas (@chaddundas) April 27, 2013
Garcia is usually adept at baiting opponents into a slugfest. However, McKenzie used his superior grappling and better cardio to wear out his opponent and score a convincing win.