The UFC on Fox 8 preliminary card bouts are in the books, and we have the full recap and rankings of the eight free fights.
Featured on the prelims, former The Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Chiesa took on Strikeforce veteran Jorge Masvidal, while Ed Herman and Trevor Smith engaged in a Fight of the Night contender.
Meanwhile, bantamweight Yaotzin Meza was an early entry into the running for Submission of the Night, and Melvin Guillard blasted through Mac Danzig to become a Knockout of the Night candidate.
Check out where each fight ranks.
A lightweight bout between Yves Edwards and Daron Cruickshank went all three rounds, ending with an awkward 30-27, 27-30, 30-27 scorecard—strange scorecards seemed to be a trend throughout the prelims.
Neither fighter put on much of a show, as neither fighter managed to be very efficient on the offensive end.
Edwards, a longtime veteran of the sport, seemed to have the advantage in the boxing match, but Cruickshank was the flashier fighter, throwing spinning kicks and other less-conventional strikes often.
In the end, that would be enough to give Cruickshank the win, but he was the only winner in this fight, considering it was arguably the least entertaining fight on the undercard.
Quite simply, Germaine de Randamie wanted a kickboxing match, while Julie Kedzie wanted the opposite, turning this contest into a somewhat mundane affair.
De Randamie found success in the early going on the feet, though the second round was highlighted by a takedown from Kedzie. The third was more like the first, as de Randamie won a striking battle, though she did get taken down late.
The judges handed the win to de Randamie by way of split decision.
This match was at least moderately intriguing when the two boxed, but in the clinch and on the ground, neither fighter was able to mount much offense at all.
Tim Means and Danny Castillo battled all three rounds before the latter was handed a unanimous decision, but it wasn't exactly an exciting 15 minutes to get to the scorecards.
Castillo implemented his usual game plan, gunning for takedowns early and often. He managed to get Means down on several occasions, while Means, who came in at 160 pounds, defended well from the bottom.
And when the fight was standing, Means looked like the better striker, utilizing his reach to score points on the feet. He thought that was enough to earn him a victory.
However, the judges saw Castillo's takedown as the difference in this fight. It wasn't pretty, nor was it quick. But Castillo earned the victory, even if he didn't earn a ton of fans in the process.
Aaron Riley vs. Justin Salas was the first split decision of the card, but unlike the other two, this one turned out to be quite entertaining.
The first round went Riley's way, as he was able to land more frequently, while the second round seemed to go to Salas, who countered well throughout.
However, Salas struggled throughout the fight to earn the takedown, and Riley stuffed plenty of attempts. In the third round, the pair went back and forth for a close five minutes of action. And Salas left the cage with a narrow split-decision victory.
The fight really could have gone either way, and it was an intriguing contest for how competitive it was. But it was hardly the best these prelims had to offer.
For how many narrow decisions that occurred on the prelims, the undercard certainly started off on the right foot with an exciting grappling battle between John Albert and Yaotzin Meza.
Both fighters entered the bout coming off of losses—Albert had lost three in a row—and neither seemed content to walk away with anything short of a stoppage win.
After a good back-and-forth first round, Albert locked on a triangle choke from his back. Meza appeared to be in trouble, struggling to escape, but Albert ultimately had to let go.
One more shot was all Meza needed, as he effortlessly moved to the back of his tiring opponent, sinking in the rear-naked choke.
This one wasn't the bloody striking war some consider to be the most entertaining type of fight, but the grappling battle was sensational, giving Albert vs. Meza a good spot on this list.
Michael Chiesa looked to keep his unbeaten record intact against former Strikeforce lightweight top contender Jorge Masvidal, but The Ultimate Fighter winner failed to do so. Still, the fight turned out to be quite entertaining, at least for fans.
Chiesa started off strong, while Masvidal struggled to find his rhythm. The Strikeforce vet managed to pick things up later in the first round, but Chiesa still topped him over the first five minutes.
The second round was a different story.
Masvidal entered the frame with his timing and rhythm on, and Chiesa appeared to fade early. Masvidal continuously got the better of exchanges and was undeniably the fresher fighter. And with time ticking away, Masvidal grabbed onto a D'Arce choke.
The seconds slipped away, and a third round seemed inevitable. Then Chiesa tapped. With one second remaining in the round.
The final preliminary contest featured plenty of solid action, capping off an otherwise mediocre undercard.
There was just one knockout on the preliminary card of UFC on Fox 8, and it was a vicious one, courtesy of Melvin Guillard.
Guillard and Mac Danzig engaged in an exciting back-and-forth boxing match from the start of their contest, which broadcast live on FX. While Guillard obviously had more power, Danzig managed to hold his own throughout the first round, even if he probably fell short on the scorecards.
Well, those scorecards didn't matter, considering how the second round came to a close.
Danzig was blasted by a vicious shot on the feet around the midpoint of the round, falling to his back. He attempted to defend, but Guillard landed several brutal hammerfists to put him away.
The finish was something else—something very, very brutal—and earns this fight a top spot on the list.
After the prelims wrapped, if you had to pick a Fight of the Night, this was it.
Ed Herman entered the contest a favorite but had his hands full with a very game Trevor Smith. Herman would go on to win the contest via split decision, but one judge saw the bout 30-27 for his opponent.
The only thing crazier than the scorecard was the fight itself, featuring back-and-forth brawling action, as neither fighter yielded. On several instances, the pair engaged in flurries that very well could've ended with a knockout.
But Herman and Smith hung tough throughout, shelling one another at every turn, while taking the damage and fighting on.
By the end of the third round, both guys seemed (appropriately) exhausted. While Smith didn't earn the victory, he and Herman could yet take home Fight of the Night honors and a nice bonus check.
Of all the preliminary card fights from UFC on Fox 8, this was the best, as Herman and Smith put on a performance that won't soon be forgotten by those who watched.