UFC 170: What We Learned from the Prelims

Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2014

Feb 22, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) throws a kick down to Josh Sampo (blue gloves) during their UFC flyweight bout at Mandalay Bay. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

UFC 170 featured a six-bout preliminary card that was capped off by a Top Five matchup between two of the best women's bantamweights.

No. 3-ranked Alexis Davis battled No. 5-ranked Jessica Eye to a split-decision win.

Also on the undercard, Raphael Assuncao inched closer to a bantamweight title shot with a decision win over Pedro Munhoz.

All in all, it was another lackluster undercard for 2014. Five of the six bouts went to the scorecards. This is shaping up to be the year of the decision.

What else did we take away from the prelims? Let's check it out.


What We'll Remember About the Prelims

Erik Koch's first-round destruction of Rafaello Oliveira is one of the few memorable bits from the preliminary card. He moved back up to 155 and made a statement in the fight. It could lead to bigger and better things in the very near future for one of the dynamic young guns of the UFC.

Sadly, that was nearly the only memorable moment on the preliminary card.


What We Learned About the Title Contenders

Zach Makovsky controlled his bout with Josh Sampo, but he didn't do so in an exciting or outright dominating manner. He will move up the flyweight rankings, but he still has work to do before becoming a true title contender.

Raphael Assuncao had a potential title shot on the line against UFC newcomer Pedro Munhoz. He took a very workmanlike approach and won a decision.

Will it earn him a title shot? Perhaps, but not because he is exciting. If he gets the next title shot, it is because the UFC has no other option for Barao's next opponent.

Feb 21, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC Bantamweights Alexis Davis (L) and Jessica Eye (R) face off for photographers during the UFC 170 weigh-ins at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

No. 3 Alexis Davis and No. 5 Jessica Eye went to battle in the preliminary card's main event. Neither fighter showed her best, and Davis' strategy could be called into question. If she gets the title fight, she will be in a lot of trouble. Regardless, it was a fun, close fight between two of the division's best.


What We Learned About the Prospects

The evening opened with an interesting prospect in Yosdenis Cedeno, but he underperformed. Ernest Chavez took the split-decision victory and put a damper on what was supposed to be an exciting debut. Cedeno has a lot of ground work to improve upon.

Cody Gibson vs. Aljamain Sterling was featured on the Fox Sports 1 prelims, and the bout was competitive and fun. Sterling won a unanimous decision that was noticeably different from a lot of the decisions that we have seen thus far in 2014. These two showed a wide array of techniques but also how green they are. The stirring contest will make both prospects interesting to watch in the future.


What's Next for Davis, Assuncao and Makovsky?

The three potential title contenders will all earn marquee bouts in their next outings.

Davis and Assuncao likely earned title shots. The UFC could easily move them into title eliminators if other plans arise, but right now, there are no other contenders for those two 135-pound straps.

Makovsky should have earned a title-eliminator bout. The flyweight division needs another contender for later this year, and he has done well in his two UFC bouts. The UFC's best move is to line him up with a Top Five-ranked flyweight with a title shot on the line.

This prelim card at least gave us a look at three top-tier fighters who have their eyes on gold.