The UFC held its first “Fight Night” event since joining the Fox family of networks, showcasing welterweights Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez live on Fuel TV. The event took place from the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Neb. The night’s six-fight main card aired on Fuel, while three preliminary bouts streamed via Facebook.

Ellenberger bests Sanchez in action-packed bout

Welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger continued his rise up the 170-pound ladder by outlasting former Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Sanchez.

Ellenberger, fighting in his native Omaha, used crisp counterstriking to get the better of Sanchez in the first two rounds. Sanchez’s nose appeared broken after a right hand and follow-up knee from Ellenberger in the opening frame.  The middle round saw Ellenberger score with a big double-leg takedown.

In the final stanza, Sanchez came to life. The Jackson’s MMA fighter pushed the pace and was able to gain the top position with two minutes remaining. Sanchez alternated strikes from the mount and choke attempts from Ellenberger’s back, but was unable to finish the fight.

Despite the late work from Sanchez, all three judges awarded the bout to Ellenberger.

Struve starts slow, finishes strong against Herman

Towering 6-foot-11 Stefan Struve was on the wrong end of Dave Herman’s striking for the first round, but came back strong to force a stoppage in the second frame of their heavyweight co-main event.

Herman peppered Struve with leg kicks and crisp combos throughout the first round, turning the Dutchman’s face red from the blows.

The second round was the exact opposite, as it was Struve scoring with combos and mounting Herman on two occasions.  The second dominant position was setup with a big uppercut that dropped Herman to the mat and Struve capitalized.  After raining punches from the top, referee Josh Rosenthal pulled Struve off Herman for the TKO win.

Markes grinds out decision over Simpson in middleweight debut

Brazilian Ronny Markes survived getting dropped and nearly finished in the opening round to recover and take a split decision over Aaron Simpson.

Markes, making his first appearance at 185 pounds, ate a right uppercut from Simpson in the first round and was sent to the canvas.  Simpson pounced and looked for a finish, but the Brazilian was able to recover.

In the final two rounds, Markes used his distinct size advantage to grind on Simpson, scoring multiple takedowns. While the Brazilian failed to score a finish, his performance was enough to earn the nod on two of three judges’ scorecards.

Miocic wastes little time, hands De Fries first loss

Undefeated heavyweight Stipe Miocic needed less than a minute to hand submission specialist Philip De Fries his first defeat.

De Fries connected early with a right hand that backed up Miocic, but Miocic responded with a right hand of his own that stunned the British fighter.  Miocic smelled blood and flurried, scoring a knockout finish along the fence.

Dillashaw dominates Watson

Ultimate Fighter runner-up T.J. Dillashaw used superior wrestling to overwhelm the much longer Walel Watson in their bantamweight match-up.

For the opening two rounds, Dillashaw scored takedowns and effortlessly took Watson’s back on multiple occasions.  From the dominant position, Dillashaw worked hard for the rear-naked choke finish, but Watson was able to defend and survive the rounds.

In the final frame, Watson came to life, threatening with both a flying triangle and omoplata, but Dillashaw escaped and again threatened with the choke as the fight ended.  The judges’ scorecards reflected the dominance, as two gave the fight to Dillashaw 30-25, and one scored it 30-26.

Menjivar survives early barrage, scores submission win

Veteran bantamweight Ivan Menjivar took everything opponent John Albert could give him in the opening minutes of their bout, but rebounded to secure a rear-naked choke win.

Albert was aggressive to start, repeatedly forcing Menjivar to cover up along the fence.  Menjivar survived the onslaught of knees and punches and was able to gain the top position inside Albert’s guard.

Once on top, Menjivar was forced to defend submission attempts from Albert, but ultimately took Albert’s back and locked in a fight-finishing rear-naked choke.

Undercard Summary

Ultimate Fighter winner Jonathan Brookins, now competing at featherweight, made short work of Brazilian Vagner Rocha, scoring a knockout from the top position as Rocha looked for a leg lock.

Debuting lightweight Justin Salas utilized his superior wrestling and solid boxing to take a unanimous decision over Finnish fighter Anton Kuivanen.

Another Octagon debutant, Tim Means, used his reach advantage to batter grappling ace Bernardo Magalhaes in their lightweight contest.

*A middleweight contest between Sean Loeffler and Buddy Roberts was removed from the card after Loeffler injured his ankle during warm-ups.

FULL RESULTS

Jake Ellenberger def. Diego Sanchez by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Stefan Struve def. Dave Herman by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 3:52

Ronny Markes def. Aaron Simpson by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Stipe Miocic def. Philip De Fries by KO (strikes). Round 1, 0:43

T.J. Dillashaw def. Walel Watson by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)

Ivan Menjivar def. John Albert by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:45

Jonathan Brookins def. Vagner Rocha by KO (strikes). Round 1, 1:32

Justin Salas def. Anton Kuivanen by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Tim Means def. Bernardo Magalhaes by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)

Photo: Jake Ellenberger (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

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