It was an action-starved preliminary card for the most part at the highly anticipated UFC 189: Mendes vs. McGregor event in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first five fights went the distance, with only one delivering any sort of consistent entertainment. No need to fear, though. Matt Brown and Tim Means saved the day.
The 30-27 scorecards are a bit deceiving, as Briones put in a competitive shift against the highly touted prospect out of Team Alpha Male. It was disappointingly slow-paced at times, with Briones successful with his jab but Garbrandt on his power shots in the 1st round. Garbrandt had a late takedown and unleashed some ground-and-pound and got to mount before the horn sounded. Cody hurt Briones in the 2nd round with a left hook and a right hand as Henry was backing up. Briones dropped to the floor but Garbrandt couldn't get the finish. He even caught Garbrandt with a flying knee but Cody seemed to shake it off and was able to dictate the pace and land more strikes. The last 15 seconds of the 3rd produced action-packed fireworks but despite a sense of urgency from Briones and some solid strikes landed, Garbrandt came away with a clean sweep on the cards.
This was one of the worst fights of the year, putting it bluntly. Howard was able to connect at striking range but bizarrely chose to clinch and play into Pendred's strengths at time. The pace was excruciatingly slow, action was lacking, Pendred hardly landed anything of note that wasn't in the clinch, and the most exciting moment was probably a semi-threatening guillotine choke by Cathal in the 3rd round when Howard was going for a takedown. Tony Weeks was the judge who gave Pendred two rounds ... he should be banned from scoring fights for an eternity.
Swick got taken down and controlled throughout the fight en route to another unexciting decision. Garcia prevented any happy ending to Swick's comeback story through his strength, his wrestling, and just enough striking to get a comfortable win on the scorecards. He finished the 3rd in full mount and went for an armbar, but Swick slipped out to at least avoid getting finished.
This fight promised fireworks and it delivered. Means hurt Brown early with a straight left and made him retreat. Brown returned fire but things came to a brief halt because of an eye poke by "The Immortal". The back-and-forth exchanges ensured, with Brown getting the better of Means in the clinch. Means hurt Brown with standing elbows against the fence, but Brown retaliated with a perfect elbow of his own and then another one. Brown then went for the guillotine choke finish and Means was forced to tap just seconds later. A big win for Brown, who snaps his two-fight losing streak, and the end to a four-fight winning run for "The Dirty Bird".