While the Fight Pass bouts were defined by their quick knockouts, the rest of the prelims were characterized by the lack of finishes.
The prelims opened up with a redemption fight for Sage Northcutt as he took on Enrique Marin. This fight went back and forth as both men were willing to trade blows early. Northcutt showed an improvement on his ground game as an early takedown by Marin was reversed with a leg lock. Northcutt controlled Marin on the mat for much of the round to win the first.
Marin came out far stronger in the second, landing multiple takedowns in the round. Twice Marin moved from side control, to north-south position in order to set up a Kimora which eventually became an arm-bar attempt. However, Sage's improved submission attempt allowed him to escape both of these scary situations. Marin's efforts did earn him the round though.
The final round was competitive with Marin landing an early takedown, but Northcutt started dropping heavy elbows onto him and racked up some serious damage. Super Sage eventually transitioned on top of Marin and hit him with more strikes before closing out the round to win 29-28 on all cards.
The next fight was between former Bantamweight Champion T. J. Dillashaw and Raphael Assuncao, who beat Dillashaw in 2013. History would not repeat itself as Dillashaw dominated the fight from start to finish. He was able to defend most of Assuncao's takedowns and was able to scramble to his feet whenever he was taken to the canvas. He picked Assuncao apart with his jabs and head kicks and won convincingly, 30-27, on all cards.
The third fight of the prelims featured another former champion in Johny Hendricks and he took on a TUF champion, Kelvin Gastelum. However, things did not go as smoothly for the former Welterweight Champion as he had expected.
After missing weight, Hendricks came out of the gates as the slower fighter. Gastelum was aggressive, using leg kicks and 1-2 combos to pick "Big Rig" apart. After a second round that saw Hendricks rally back slightly, Gastelum once again seized the moment and dominated the third. Gastelum won a unanimous decision, 29-28, 30-27, and 30-27.
The final fight on the prelims was between two top fighters in the bantamweight division. Cat Zingano, the only woman to beat both Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes, took on Julianna Pena. This bout was defined by the takedown and ground control.
While Pena had plenty of strikes from her back in the first round, Zingano had top position for a majority of the round to easily get the opening 10 points. However, Pena came back strong in the second. After being taken down early, Pena reversed to get on top of Zingano and held the position for the final two minutes of the round.
The third round was completely one sided as Pena took Cat down in the opening minute and didn't let her back up until less than a minute was left in the fight. Pena won a unanimous decision with all judges scoring the bout 29-28.
(Image via MMAWeekly.com)