Brandon Vera (12-5, 1 NC) kicked off UFC 137 in style on the Facebook undercard preliminaries, edging "The Ultimate Fighter" veteran Eliot Marshall (11-5) for a gutsy unanimous decision victory (29-28, x3) after breaking his right arm late in the third round. Despite being tabbed as one of the biggest underdogs of the night, Marshall defied expectations as he continually stunned Vera on the feet and appeared to snap his opponent's arm during a third round blitzkrieg capped by the deep armbar that nearly ended the fight.
But somehow it wasn't enough. "The Truth" survived the harrowing assault to escape with a win on the scorecards after controlling the opening ten minutes with a precision stand-up attack and smothering clinch work. The much-needed victory was Vera's first since suffering a three-fight winless streak to Randy Couture, Thaigo Silva, and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones stretching back to 2009.
Ramsey Nijem vs. Danny Downes
"The Ultimate Fighter 13" finalist Ramsey Nijem (6-2) picked up his first Octagon win with a lopsided unanimous decision victory (30-25, 30-26, 30-27) against the overmatched Danny Downes (8-3) in his return to the lightweight division. The fight looked to be in jeopardy late in the first round as Nijem cranked on a deep rear-naked choke but was unable to finish.
The 23-year-old threatened again in rounds two and three with a litany of tight submission attempts, including a mount to rear-naked choke transition that nearly ended the fight. The loss marks the second straight for the irrefutably tough Downes, who could be facing an unfortunate release from the promotion.
Francis Carmont vs. Chris Camozzi
Intriguing middleweight prospect Francis Carmont (17-7) picked up his first career UFC victory in his Octagon debut, claiming a unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27) over "The Ultimate Fighter" veteran Chris Camozzi (15-5). Carmont -- a training partner of welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre -- took charge midway through the second period with a monstrous slam and brutal series of ground-and-pound. After working his way back to the feet, Camozzi was immediately floored by another huge left hand.
The third round featured much of the same as the Frenchman dominated the action until a hail-mary kimura attempt by Camozzi threatened to end the fight. It would prove to be too little, too late as Carmont survived to the bell for his fifth straight win.
Clifford Starks vs. Dustin Jacoby
Despite taking the fight on one week's notice, middleweight prospect Clifford Starks (8-0) dug into his Arizona State wrestling roots and grinded out a unanimous decision win over Octagon newcomer Dustin Jacoby (6-1) on the judges' scorecards (30-27, x3). Starks secured a takedown with just 30 seconds left in a tentative first round, but failed to mount any significant offense as he fought off a kimura attempt.
He repeated the favor more effectively in rounds two and three, dominating the position on the mat and working sporadic ground-and-pound until the final bell. The win is Starks' fifth of the year and maintains his undefeated record.
UFC 137 Facebook undercard results:
Brandon Vera def. Eliot Marshall via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Ramsey Nijem def. Danny Downes via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-27)
Francis Carmont def. Chris Camozzi via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27).
Clifford Starks def. Dustin Jacoby via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)