UFC 167 is an event that will feature fights between Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks, and Rashad Evans against Chael Sonnen. Before the stars of mixed martial arts could take center stage, however, there were preliminary card fights with significant long-term importance.
Here's what they were.
|UFC 167 Preliminary|
|Gian Villante||Cody Donovan||KO/TKO||2|
|Sergio Pettis||Will Campuzano||Unanimous Decision||3|
|Jason High||Anthony Lapsley||Unanimous Decision||3|
|Erik Perez||Edwin Figueroa||Unanimous Decision||3|
|Rick Story||Edwin Ebersole||Unanimous Decision||3|
|Thales Leites||Ed Herman||Unanimous Decision||3|
|Donald Cerrone||Evan Dunham||Submission (Triangle Choke)||2|
Thales Leites Defeated Ed Herman via Unanimous Decision
Thales Leites entered UFC 167 as a fighter with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over his head. He's infamous for taking part in a universally hated fight between him and Anderson Silva at UFC 97 and hadn't yet vindicated himself for that sleeper.
Leites left UFC 167 with a dominant victory over Ed Herman. Unfortunately, it wasn't as entertaining as many were hoping to see.
UFC great Kenny Florian had a different take.
Regardless of what you thought of his win, it was a victory.
Leites is now 22-4 during his career and has won both of his fights since returning to UFC. He's not a finisher, and that's what has held him back in terms of developing a more rabid fanbase, but Leites has worked his way into the title picture with another win.
Exciting or not, he made a statement against Herman.
It was a thorough domination that saw Leites overwhelm Herman with his mat and takedown skills. In turn, Leites has worked his way into a main-card fight and should be in line for a fight against another one of the top contenders.
He's not flashy, but Leites gets the job done.
Donald Cerrone defeated Evan Dunham via Second-Round Submission
This is what Dana White and the UFC had been looking for from former rising star Donald Cerrone.
After rising to near stardom in 2011 and 2012, Cerrone had lost two of his first three fights in 2013. As a result, his name fell further and further down the divisional rankings, and his dreams of winning a title became unrealistic.
Cerrone has righted the ship with a second-round submission of Evan Dunham at UFC 167.
Cerrone was coming off a unanimous decision loss to Rafael dos Anjos in late August. It put the 30-year-old under pressure and had some questioning whether or not he could put together a long enough string of victories to contend for a title.
This was a great start.
In turn, he reminded the MMA community of why he was once an intriguing contender. Now, he needs to do this with consistency.
Cerrone is now 21-6-1 overall. He was a combined 6-1 in 2011 and 2012, securing submission and knockout victories at every turn.
In 2013, he lost via TKO to Anthony Pettis, fell by decision to dos Anjos and earned a decision victory over KJ Noons entering this fight. Now, he's rediscovered momentum.
Per UFC.com, Cerrone connected on 49 percent of his total strikes and 67 percent of his significant strikes. He had one knockdown, one takedown and earned the victory via triangle choke to earn win No. 21 in his MMA career.
The lightweight division is deep, but this performance sets Cerrone up for a main-card fight.