Those of us who woke up early to catch the prelim portion of the UFC's Ultimate Fighter: China finale card were treated to a true stylistic variety of fights.
In the card's opener, Jumabieke Tuerxun, a man sold by many as the best fighter in China, lost the first fight of his pro career when he was dominated by undefeated Mark Eddiva. Tuerxun looked far, far out of his depth despite entering as high as a -500 favorite. Eddiva mixed up his attack with effective striking and just enough wrestling to both stuff the takedown attempts of Tuerxun and score his own where he scored a good amount of ground and pound with some knees to the body mixed in. Eddiva took all three scorecards 30-27.
Albert Cheng entered the cage with an announced record of 2-3 and managed to go 1-2 on this season of TUF: China, not exactly a great resume. Wang Anying was able to do pretty much anything he wanted in the first round of their fight, busting up Cheng. The fight was called off after the first round as Cheng's eye was swollen completely shut. This, combined with the Tuerxun performance got things off to a less than inspiring start. It's rare to see such low level fighters in the UFC, but that's just going to be something that happens with the international expansion efforts.
Things picked up a bit in the third prelim as Nam Phan took on Vaughan Lee in a bantamweight bout. Phan looked much, much slower than Lee throughout the bout and ended up taking almost 100 strikes to the head through the three round bout. Lee looked better than he has in his entire UFC career for much of the fight, moving out of the way of Phan's shots with ease and picking his own spots to let loose with combinations. The judges scored the bout 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 for Lee.
The final prelim bout on the card was also the best, with Yui Chul Nam and Kazuki Tokudome clashing in a back and forth scrap. Nam scored multiple knockdowns in the first round, bloodying the face of Tokudome and causing some significant swelling around his eyes. Tokudome was able to come out in round two and quickly score a big takedown, holding Nam down through the round and landing a good amount of ground and pound while Nam did little more than defend. In round three, the fighters came out and exchanged big strikes but Nam was eventually able to pull away and be the more effective fighter.
The judges scored the bout 29-27 Nam, 29-28 Tokudome and 28-27 Nam to give Nam the split decision victory.