Justin Edwards and John Maguire gave the fans in Birmingham an early candidate for the Fight of the Night. Maguire took the decision 30-27 by surviving Edwards' kicks while also working submission attempts.
The first round showed both Edwards and Maguire in control at times. Edwards looked in position to finish early, but Maguire survived and showed great grappling to finish out the round. In the second round, Maguire came close to winning by rear naked choke and an armbar as the round ended. Edwards returned to his high kicks in the final round, but Maguire again made it through for the win, 30-27 on every card.
If you were looking for a heavyweight bout that was a preview to next week's (likely) exciting heavyweight title bout, this was not the fight. It was a clinic in how to use ground and pound to defend against grappling. Broughton used a Kimura to get on top in the second round, and then kept De Fries from securing an armbar by landing plenty of elbows in the second round. Broughton won 29-28 on all three cards.
Despite an impressive career in Japan, Michihiro Omigawa was still trying for his first UFC win against Jason Young. He finally got that win, using his judo to come away with the decision, 29-28 on all three judges cards.
"I was concerned about his striking but I stayed calmed and fought very well. I just tried to avoid as many shots as possible. I was always confident about my ability to take him down with my judo and in the end this prevailed," Omigawa said after the win.
Che Mills didn't take much time to come up with the win over "The Ultimate Fighter" alumnus Chris Cope. He used a knee to knock him out in just 40 seconds.
British-born Vaughan Lee started out strong in the first fight of the night, but Chris Carisao came back for the win. Lee dominated with grappling in the first, but Cariaso came roaring back in the second with much better striking. Cariaso's ground skills showed up in the third round as he took full mount, and pounded out Lee for most of the round. He won the decision 29-28, 28-29, 29-28. Carisao's second and third rounds were obviously dominant, so the split decision came as a surprise.
- Justin Edwards