Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 | 8:50 p.m.
Welcome back to UFC lightweight title contention, Jim Miller.
Miller put himself back into the discussion for a shot at the 155-pound championship belt Friday night in Nashville, Tenn., with a first-round submission victory over Melvin Guillard.
Miller won his eighth fight out of his last nine when he took Guillard’s back and choked him out three minutes into their UFC on FX 1 main event bout.
“I’m pretty confident I’m the most dangerous lightweight in the world,” Miller said in the octagon following his victory. “I’m willing to make you guys believe that in here.”
Miller was close to convincing everyone of that last year before a unanimous decision loss to Ben Henderson snapped a seven-fight win streak. The setback snatched a title shot out of Miller’s hands.
Guillard can sympathize, as he went through the same thing after a loss to Joe Lauzon. But now Guillard finds himself significantly further back in the division’s rankings after losing his second straight.
And he got off to such a promising start. Guillard dazed Miller with a flying knee in the opening seconds of the bout and landed a couple hooks to keep the pressure on.
“I don’t get knocked down often and he knocked me down,” Miller said. “He hits hard, man. I think there are a lot of guys in this weight class and the one above us who don’t want to fight that kid.”
Miller’s first-round finish was the final one in a night full of them. Three of the four fights on the main card, and three more preliminary bouts, ended in less than five minutes.
In the co-main event, welterweight Josh Neer submitted Duane Ludwig at the 3:04 mark of the first round. Neer grabbed a hold of a guillotine choke and cranked until Ludwig lost consciousness.
Heavyweight Pat Barry snapped a two-fight losing streak in the opening contest of the main card. Barry escaped a couple of takedowns and submission attempts from Christian Morecraft before connecting with an overhand left.
The blow sent Morecraft crashing to the mat.
“The punches landed,” Barry said in a televised interview. “Everything that we were prepared to do, it came out in the ring.”
The only main card bout to go the distance, a bantamweight clash between Mike Easton and Jared Papazian, was arguably the most exciting of the night.
Easton and Papazian stood right in front of each other and slugged it out for 15 minutes. Easton ultimately took a razor-close majority decision by scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-29.
“It was nothing but nonstop action,” Easton said. “That’s what we do. We love to fight.”
Check below for full results from the UFC on FX 1 preliminary card.
Veteran middleweight Jorge Rivera retired following his TKO victory against Eric Schafer. Rivera used his ground-and-pound to stop Schafer at 1:31 of the second round.
Russian lightweight prospect Khabib Nurmagomedov stayed undefeated by beating Kamal Shalorus. Nurmagomedov submitted Shalorus with a rear naked choke at 2:08 of the third round, after dominating for the opening 12 minutes.
Judges awarded welterweight Charlie Brenneman a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over Daniel Roberts. Brenneman wrestled Roberts to the ground in every round, but also had to get out of precarious submission holds at the end of the second and third rounds.
Fabricio Camoes submitted Tommy Hayden at 4:03 of the first round in a lightweight bout. Camoes fought off a few submission attempts from Hayden before reversing position and sinking in a rear naked choke.
Daniel Pineda prevailed against Pat Schilling in a featherweight matchup between two UFC newcomers. Pineda submitted Schilling with a rear naked choke at 1:37 of the first round.
Nick Denis defeated Joseph Sandoval by knockout 22 seconds into their bantamweight bout. Denis battered the side of Sandoval's head with elbows until he was out cold.