UFC 166 started off explosively, with all four of the four streamed prelim fights ending in the 1st or 2nd round, including a Submission of the Night Darse choke by Tony Ferguson over Mike Rio. The longest any of the three knockouts took was just 52 seconds into the second round.
The FOX Sports 1 prelim offered only one finish, and three decisions, two of them split, but the fights were excellent. Hector Lombard sucked weight until he bore a damn close resemblance to Skeletor, and proved he was a force at welterweight, knocking out Nate Marquardt in under two minutes.
And then things got wild.
John Dodson scored a lightning fast Knockout of the Night, that landed cleanly on a game Darrell Montagu, whose momentum carried him for a moment before he plummeted face first onto the mat. Next a mustachioed Gabriel Gonzaga showed the truly rare capacity to knock someone out while backing up, as Shawn Jordan fell in 93 seconds.
And then things got insane.
Gil Melendez and Diego Sanchez had a fight that words cannot do justice. If you saw the fight, you know. And if you missed it, you suck.
"Diego Sanchez has this heart that I've never seen before," said a stammering UFC president Dana White afterwards. "He's a maniac, he's a fighter at the core... I just can't put it into words what Diego Sanchez is."
Daniel Cormier then beat a durable Roy Nelson in a good if unspectacular fight.
And in the main event UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez beat Junior dos Santos relentlessly. Velasquez sometimes exchanged from a distance, and attemped over a dozen takedowns, but most often kept JDS pinned against the cage. While the Walll n Stall method is often not fan friendly, Velasquez employed a Wall n Maul attack that was summed up simply by dos Santos after the fight.
"He beat me up," said 'Cigano'. "That's it. He did a great job. Congratulations."
White was so overcome by the fights that he could barely get the words out.
"Everybody, all the guys, I know it's hard not to focus on Diego Sanchez and Gilbert Melendez, but from the first fight of the night, all the fights that happened, everybody gave it 100%," said White. "The place was sold out, the crowd was into every fight … it was amazing."
"Without a doubt the greatest night of fight we have ever had. From the first fight of the night, right up to the Heavyweight championship, it's the best fight card we have ever had."
What do you think UG? Was that your favorite card ever?