Brendan Schaub's chin was questioned by virtually every analyst who looked at his bout with Matt Mitrione. But it was Schaub who landed the biggest punches and got the last laugh.
Schaub caught Mitrione with a barrage of punches, pushing the ex-New York Giants' defensive lineman back toward the cage. They hit the mat and Schaub caught Mitrione in a D'Arce choke.
Mitrione tapped and the finish came at 4:06 of the first round.
"I'm the happiest I've ever been," Schaub said.
He had reason to be, as the men traded trash talk and Schaub had to fend off talk that his chin couldn't stand up to Mitrione's power. Most of the round was spent on the feet, but Schaub landed nearly all of the significant blows.
Francis Carmont def. Costa Philippou by unanimous decision
Francis Carmont trains with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and fought remarkably like him in his middleweight bout with Costa Philippou.
Carmont took the heavy-handed Philippou down in every round and didn't do a lot of damage, but he did keep Philippou on his back. That kept Philippou from landing anything of signficance and led Carmont to a unanimous decision.
Judges had it 30-27 twice and 30-26 for Carmont. Yahoo Sports had it 30-27 for Carmont.
Philippou had no offense and no answer for Carmont's takedowns. But Carmont angered the crowd once the fight got to the ground, content to hold his position and not looking for a finish.
"After my last fight, I worked with my coach to see what I had done wrong and what needed the most improvement," Carmont said. "My wrestling was something we decided I really needed to work on. I didn’t stop working on it until I got here, and I showed I came to do my job. When a guy is in the top five, it's not easy to finish a fight. I tried to finish Costa twice, but he's a tough guy."
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Pat Healy by unanimous decision
In the pay-per-view opener, Khabib Nurmagomedov put on a great performance and rolled to an impressive unanimous decision victory over Pat Healy in a three-round lightweight bout. All three judges had it 30-27. Yahoo Sports scored it 29-28 for Nurmagomedov.
Nurmagomedov punctuated his win with a mega-slam in the third round, carrying Healy across the cage and slamming him violently to the mat. That took much of the energy out of Healy for the remaining two minutes or so of the bout.
The move was reminiscent of Matt Hughes' slam of Frank Trigg in a welterweight title fight at UFC 52.
Nurmagomedov's combinations were also hard and accurate and he was able to neutralize Healy's wrestling. Nurmagomedov cut Healy under the eye early in the fight and landed enough hard shots to make it easy for the judges.
"When I picked him up and carried him across the cage, it crossed my mind that I should do it, slam him down for the fans," Nurmagomedov said. "It's something I loved doing growing up with my brothers. Quite honestly, I didn't expect to dominate him like that because everyone was saying he's such a great grappler. When I realized my level was higher than his and I could out-grapple him, I felt very comfortable."