The preliminary card is in the books for UFC 146 in Las Vegas on Saturday night. While the main card on PPV will consist of five heavyweight fights and will culminate with the main event of Junior dos Santos defending his heavyweight title against former champ Frank Mir, the undercard gave fighters in other weight classes plenty of opportunity to shine.
In the first fight broadcast on the FX network, Dan Hardy took on Duane Ludwig in a welterweight bout. The two stood and traded, clinched against the cage briefly and traded again before Hardy landed a left hook that knocked Ludwig flat. Hardy jumped on top and landed some undefended strikes before the match was waved off with Hardy declared the winner by knockout at 3:51 of the first round.
Next, C.B. Dollaway took on Jason Miller in a middleweight fight. During an extended feeling-out process, Miller slipped and Dollaway took his back, but despite keeping Miller grounded until just before the end of the round, he was unable to put him away. Miller again slipped and stumbled midway through the second round and again Dollaway took control on the ground, but was unable to finish. In the third round, Dollaway yet again took Miller's back by the time two minutes were up and the crowd was roundly booing the fight. Dolloway landed scores of unimpressive-looking shots in the last couple of minutes but couldn't put him away. This was the least-impressive one-sided fight you could see and neither man looked good here. Dollaway won the unanimous decision on scores of 29-27, 30-26, 29-28.
In lightweight action, Edson Barboza faced off against Jamie Varner. This fight was exactly what the card and the crowd needed after the previous fight. The action was fast and furious before Varner scored a huge takedown and started landing big shots. Varner would not let up and stayed on the attack, finally pinning down Barboza and continuing to land hammer fists until the stoppage as Varner was awarded the win via TKO at 3:23 of the first round. The loss was the first of Barboza's career and he now falls to 10-1.
In the final fight before the PPV, Diego Brandao fought Darren Elkins in the featherweight division. The fight went to the ground early, as Elkins scored a takedown but ended up on the bottom himself. Brandao elected to take the fight back to the standup and scored a huge jumping knee that floored Elkins, but both fighters were back to their feet a few moments later. The first round continued like that, with Brandao landing some huge shots to a grounded Elkins. The first round clearly belonged to Brandao, but Elkins showed a lot of great recovery ability.
The second round was more tentative than the first round would have suggested, with both men staying upright until Brandao slipped on a head-kick attempt and ended up on the bottom. Elkins held Brandao down for over half the round and landed some damaging shots of his own. When the round ended, both men had each clearly won a round.
Elkins scored a takedown in the first minute of the final round and took control, holding down Brandao and continuing to work. Elkins got the full mount by the midway point of the round as Brandao looked gassed. Elkins kept up the ground and pound. Brandao managed to get to his feet in the final minute and landed two more big shots on the ground but could not finish Elkins. The judges awarded the fight to Elkins via unanimous decision on scores of 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 in what was easily the fight of the night to this point.