UFC Fight Night 26 Results: Power Ranking the Preliminary Card Fights
The stacked preliminary card for UFC Fight Night 26 on Fox Sports 1 lived up to its billing, producing seven enthralling fights.
While only three of the seven bouts ended in decisions. two fighters scored unforgettable knockouts on the ground, and two more nailed slick chokes for taps.
Here's where each fight ranks.
All stats gathered via FightMetric.com.
7. Manvel Gamburyan vs. Cole Miller
Featherweights and top-flight grapplers Manvel Gamburyan and Cole Miller put on a back-and-forth show in the last bout on Facebook/YouTube.
Gamburyan scored a slam takedown early in the first round before landing some elbows and punches on the ground.
Miller landed what appeared to be an illegal elbow that hurt Gamburyan as the first round expired.
Gamburyan got outstruck in Round 2 but landed a pair of takedowns to steal the stanza.
He nailed another takedown two minutes into the third round before controlling Miller for the bulk of the last 1:30.
Miller fired strikes at a slightly higher volume than Gamburyan. But the Armenian not only outwrestled Miller in all three rounds, he also landed the cleaner and more damaging strikes, earning the unanimous decision.
Gamburyan and Miller both worked hard and did damage, but neither should expect a "Fight of the Night" bonus.
6. Diego Brandao vs. Daniel Pineda
Not known for his takedown prowess, Diego Brandao surprised fellow featherweight Daniel Pineda and claimed a unanimous decision on the strength of his wrestling dexterity in the night's fourth bout.
In Round 1, Brandao outlanded Pineda 28-18 in the significant strikes category. Brandao also notched a takedown, passed Pineda's guard and did some damage in half guard.
Pineda turned the tables in the striking department in the second round, outlanding Brandao 54-16. However, Brandao mustered a pair of takedowns and scored enough damage from the top position to steal the round.
Brandao outstruck Pineda 20-16 in Round 3. The Brazilian solidified the win by flattening Pineda on five of six takedown attempts in the final round.
A slugfest in the first round slowed down significantly as both men suffered from fatigue in the bout's final two stanzas. Brandao did more than enough, however, to earn his fourth win in five UFC bouts.
5. Conor McGregor vs. Max Holloway
Conor McGregor didn't score a finish in his highly anticipated sophomore showing in the UFC. Instead, the eccentric Irishman did the next best thing, outstriking Max Holloway in all three rounds en route to a unanimous decision.
McGregor used a flashy repertoire of kicks in the first round to outland Holloway 28-14, including 27-13 in the significant strikes category.
"Notorious" did much of the same in the second round and delivered 15 significant strikes to Holloway's seven. McGregor also notched a takedown and passed Holloway's guard twice.
In the final round, the Irishman genuinely imposed his will on Holloway for the first time. He outlanded Holloway 11-2 in the significant strikes department. He also grounded his opponent on each of his three takedown attempts and passed his guard four times.
With so much hype surrounding his first fight in Boston, McGregor handled the pressure with coolness.
4. James Vick vs. Ramsey Nijem
James Vick made the most of his UFC debut, cinching up an early guillotine choke on Ramsey Nijem and refusing to let go until the former NCAA Division I wrestler tapped out.
The 6'3" Vick stuffed a Nijem shot, corralled his foe's neck and then began cranking on a modified guillotine. Nijem fell to the ground and attempted to escape, only to tap out just 58 seconds into the fight.
For Vick, the win marked a remarkable comeback from a lengthy rehab. "The Texecutioner" hadn't fought since getting knocked out by Michael Chiesa in the semifinal round of The Ultimate Fighter Season 15.
3. Steven Siler vs. Mike Brown
Featherweights who didn't recognize the name of Steven Siler certainly will after The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 alumnus brutally KO'd former WEC champ Mike Brown.
Siler cracked Brown with a short right hand early in the first round to set up his violent knockout. Brown lost his footing and fell to his back, absorbing a pair of heavy right hands from Siler before temporarily going to sleep.
Referee Yves Lavigne recognized Brown's dire state and stepped in to save the day just 50 seconds into the bout.
The 26-year-old Siler earned the most notable win of his career while making a solid case to garner his first "Knockout of the Night" bonus.
2. Ovince St. Preux vs. Cody Donovan
Everything was going as planned for Cody Donovan until the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt got reversed by former college football player Ovince St. Preux.
Midway through the first round, Donovan attempted to score a bodylock takedown on St. Preux. However, St. Preux used a last-second whizzer to reverse the position and ultimately landed in Donovan's guard.
St. Preux wasted little time in dropping thunderous left hands on his opponent's skull. Donovan went to sleep after a few sledgehammers from St. Preux, prompting Herb Dean to step in and call the action.
In his pursuit for his first "Knockout of the Night" bonus, St. Preux may have been just a tad more ferocious than Steven Siler.
1. Michael McDonald vs. Brad Pickett
It didn't look like he would make it, but somehow feisty Englishman Brad Pickett survived a hectic first round against former bantamweight title challenger Michael McDonald.
McDonald bashed and battered Pickett in the first round, landing 45 strikes including 42 of the significant variety.
Pickett regained his footing and bounced back in the second round. But after Picket hit a takedown and piled up some mild ground-and-pound, McDonald struck from his back with a textbook triangle choke.
McDonald went from a defensive posture to isolating Pickett's left arm and cinching up an airtight triangle choke in a matter of a few seconds.
McDonald ultimately hooked his opponent's right arm and squeezed to seal the tap with 3:43 to go in Round 2.
A loser via arm-triangle choke in his last bout to interim champ Renan Barao, McDonald vindicated the bitter memory of his second defeat and set himself up for another high-profile fight at 135 pounds.