Originally written on hov-mma  |  Last updated 8/18/13
Coming into the UFC's first ever event on the opening night of the brand new Fox Sports 1 channel we were promised the greatest fight card in the history of free television. And we got it, both on paper and in practice. The card started off hard and fast with James Vick defeating Ramsey Nijem via guillotine and OSP knocking Cody Donovan out both inside the first round. The Facebook prelims ended with a decision victory for Manny Gamburyan over Cole Miller in a back and forth battle which was almost stopped between the first and second rounds after the Armenian was seemingly on the end of an elbow to the back of the head from the clinch. It was the start of four wonderful featherweight fights in a row. Diego Brandao and Daniel Pineda opened the prelims with one of the rounds of the year. The Brazilian unleashing his rapid striking on the granite-chin Texan. By the time the second round had gotten going both men looked weary. Brandao, with Greg Jackson in his corner, fought the more tactically aware fight from that point on and took Pineda down with ease whenever he felt like it and won the decision on every judges card. The next fight took just fifty seconds when Steven Siler knocked former WEC champion Mike Brown out with the performance of his career. When Conor McGregor walked to the cage one could be forgiven for thinking it was the entrance of a main eventer fighting in his home town. In actual fact he was thousands of miles from home fighting on the preliminary co-main event. McGregor's reputation precedes him - and so does the hype. Everyone was expecting a first round knockout. That didn't happen but in this case maybe its a good thing. McGregor dominated the fight from start to finish beating his opponent in every area. The fight started in typical McGregor fashion with an abundance of spectacular offence catching the Hawaiian with a hook kick to the face before drawing blood from his nose with a number of stiff straight lefts from the Irishman's southpaw stance. As Holloway has shown in the past he isn't easily finished and stuck to the task gallantly despite being out-matched. The second round started in a similar way to the first with McGregor winning almost every stand-up exchange before injuring his knee midway through the round. From that point his gameplan changed. This is where we saw for the very first time what McGregor really has. Not only does he have the ability to finish his opponent he can also come through adversity and grind out the decision. And thats just what he did as he took Holloway down and controlled him for the remainder of the fight. In a way this was actually a more impressive display than if he had made quick work of Holloway. McGregor showed how well rounded he is, he showed how superb his cardio is and maybe most importantly he showed that he will never give up. In the end every judge scored it 30-27 for the Dubliner who will no doubt campaign for a place on the Manchester card later this year - should his knee allow. The featherweight festival was finished by the ferocious battle between former contender Michael McDonald and England's Brad Pickett. This fight went on to win fight of the night and boy did it deserve it. McDonald began the fight in his normal athletic attacking fashion and knocked the Brit down inside of a minute with a furious burst of striking. Pickett somehow continued before getting floored again midway through the round. Again Pickett persevered and saw out the first round. In the second McDonald, realising Pickett could not be knocked out, took a slower approach which the Londoner capitalized on by taking him down. It was a blessing in disguise though as McDonald sunk in a tight triangle and tapped Pickett with just over a minute left on the clock. The main card begun in somewhat of a slower fashion with underdogs Michael Johnson and John Howard winning decision victories over the highly fancied TUF veterans Joe Lauzon and Uriah Hall respectively before the excitement came rushing back when Fox ever-present Matt Brown knocked out former training partner Mike Pyle in just 29 seconds moving him to six fights unbeaten and surely a place inside the UFC's welterweight rankings. Urijah Faber vs. Yuri Alcantara started how nobody could have expected with the Brazilian suplexing the former WEC champion into the mount inside ten seconds. Faber was in real trouble as Alcantara took his back and dominated the early goings but to his credit he fought back and didn't allow the same mistake to happen again. Faber eventually won a decision and every round on the judges cards after a not-so-exciting fifteen minutes of wrestling. Esther Lin for MMAFighting Coming into the night the co-main event was maybe the hardest fight to call. Overeem is undoubtedly the more decorated fighter but Browne has put together a wonderful record in his career so far. It was Overeem who started the better and bullied the Hawaiian in the opening stages - pushing him against the cage and smashing him with some nasty knees, one of which dropped Browne to the floor. Overeem was seconds away from finishing the fight but Browne got to his feet and regained his senses after eating 23 kicks and knees from the Dutchman. And then the unbelievable happened. Browne downed Overeem with a massive front kick to the face and finished it with two hammer fists for good measure leaving Overeem's UFC career in tatters. In the main event Chael Sonnen produced the best win of his career against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Sonnen, as he always does, came out and put his head into his opponents chest and took him down. Shogun didn't get up. It was a masterful display of control from the former Olympic alternate who beat Shogun up on the ground for four minutes before sinking in a tight guillotine which the Brazilian was forced to submit to with just thirteen seconds left in the first frame. After the fight Sonnen called out Wanderlei Silva with a typical slick promo, keeping alive his long standing rivalry with seemingly every Brazilian fighter on the UFC's roster. The night started with first round guillotine and ended with a first round guillotine. What happened in the middle wasn't bad either. UFC and Fox Sports couldn't have asked for a better start to Americans newest sports network.
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