The UFC returned on Saturday night with UFC on Fox 10 in Chicago. Headlined by Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson, it promised to be an exciting, action-packed night of fights.
Before the main card aired, the prelims came with a bunch of up-and-coming talent gracing the undercard. From future champs like Sergio Pettis to first-time fighters like Mike Rhodes, the prelims were a glimpse into the future of several key UFC divisions.
What did we learn from these prelim fights? Let's take a look at some of the biggest learning points of the night.
We Should Give Nikita Krylov a Mulligan
Coming into UFC on Fox 10, Nikita Krylov was heavily criticized for his unimpressive debut against Soa Palelei. In fact, he was a 4-1 underdog coming into his prelim fight with Walt Harris.
That changed in 25 seconds of combat. Krylov pushed forward quickly, attacking the bigger, more athletic Harris with a variety of kicks. Then, like a bat out of hell, Krylov threw a high kick that nailed Harris in the side of the head and left him staggered. A few follow-up punches later and Krylov was victorious.
Perhaps a mulligan is in order for Krylov. Sure, he looked terrible against Palelei, but his swift drubbing of Harris has quickly put him back in the good graces of fans.
We will see how he does when he re-steps up in competition. At 21 years old, he has a lot of room to improve.
Daron Cruickshank's Kicks are Fun to Watch
Daron Cruickshank didn't respect Mike Rio's stand-up coming into this bout on UFC on Fox. At the end of Round 2, he showed why his stand-up is superior.
After taking Rio down midway through the second, Cruickshank almost got caught in a heel hook. He escaped by the skin of his teeth and looked to be holding out for the bell at the end of the round.
Then it happened.
Cruickshank planted, threw a spinning heel kick and blistered Rio in the head with brute force. A couple of follow-up shots later and Cruickshank was the victor by TKO.
Watch Cruickshank's fights if you can. All of his kicking techniques are beautiful and fun to watch. He is definitely a solid midcarder in the UFC's 155-pound division.
You Can't Do the Running Man When You Are Trailing on the Scorecards
For two rounds, Hugo Viana was throwing straight heat at Junior Hernandez. In the third round, he definitely pumped the brakes a bit.
Frustrated that his aggression was not forcing enough action from the Brazilian, Hernandez resorted to taunting and doing the "Running Man," as made famous by Nate Quarry.
Here's the thing. I don't mind taunting and stuff like that in the cage, but if you are clearly behind on the scorecards and you do that, you should probably finish the fight.
Instead, Hernandez was bested on the cards, dropping him to 0-2 in his UFC career. Both losses were very unimpressive.
It could be time for a trip back to the minor leagues for Mr. Hernandez.
Eddie Wineland is Still a Top-Five Bantamweight
It took longer than most people estimated, but Eddie Wineland finished Yves Jabouin to secure a win in his comeback fight from his UFC Bantamweight Championship loss to Renan Barao.
Doing some good damage on the feet, Wineland dropped Jabouin in the second round, which secured his ground-and-pound finish on the ground.
Since joining the UFC, Wineland has only lost to Joseph Benavidez, Urijah Faber and Barao. He has been a buzzsaw otherwise, showing that despite those losses, he is still in the top five of the division.
Expect him to continue to get big fights while he is tenured in the UFC.
The UFC Must Build Sergio Pettis Slowly
Pettis looked good in his sophomore UFC effort. He was 20 seconds from victory. Then, Alex Caceres pulled out a rear-naked choke, and Pettis was undefeated no more.
This was a good test for Pettis, who sincerely looked great throughout the fight. He just got caught, simple as that.
For Caceres, it's a huge win over a fighter who has name recognition. For Pettis, it shows that he needs to be built up slowly by the UFC.
He is just 20 years of age. His matchup with Caceres was a good one, but he will need to build himself up as he improves against low-to-mid-ranked bantamweights.
Also, I think a drop to flyweight would be good. He looked tiny in there against Caceres.
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