LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Veteran bantamweight Urijah (The California Kid) Faber stopped Alex (Bruce Leroy) Caceres via third-round submission in the featured fight of the UFC 175 undercard Saturday night.
Faber was a 10-1 favourite, ending a string of five wins on the Mandalay Bay Events Center card by underdogs. The 35-year-old former WEC featherweight champion has never lost a non-title fight.
Caceres, 26, had won four of his last five with another victory overturned due to a positive test for marijuana.
The five-foot-six Faber got the 5-10 Caceres to the ground in the first round but failed to do much damage. Caceres found his range in the second, connecting with several strikes. He also managed to get back up after several takedowns.
Caceres' length and unorthodox style was making life difficult for Faber. But the veteran came out strong in the third, driving Caceres (10-6 with one no contest) back across the cage with a flurry of blows and then grabbing a leg to tip him over.
Caceres gave up his back and Faber (31-7) finished him off by rear-naked choke at 1:09 of the third round.
Faber is ranked second among 135-pound contenders while Caceres is No. 12.
Middleweight champion Chris Weidman faced former light-heavyweight title-holder Lyoto (The Dragon) Machida in the main event. Alexis Davis, a 29-year-old from Port Colborne, Ont., who fights out of San Jose, met women's bantamweight champion (Rowdy) Ronda Rousey in the co-main event.
Only two Canadians have held UFC titles: Carlos (Ronin) Newton and Georges St-Pierre, both in the welterweight division.
Saturday's card was part of International Fight Week in Las Vegas, a glut of MMA offerings that concluded with a weekend Fan Expo and two UFC cards: UFC 175 and Sunday's finale to Season 20 of "The Ultimate Fighter."
Earlier, middleweight Luke Zachrich (14-3) won a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 decision over Brazilian TUF alumnus Guilherme (Bomba) Vasconcelos (3-2). The 32-year-old Zachrich, a graduate of Season 7 of "The Ultimate Fighter" whose career was put on hold for two years due to a back injury, was in tears as he left the cage with his first UFC win.
"It's been a constant struggle since (the reality TV show) and there have been a lot of ups and downs, highs and lows," said Zachrich.
Middleweight (King) Kevin Casey spoiled the debut of Bubba (The Fighting Texas Aggie) Bush, putting him down with a left hook before finishing him off with a string of elbows on the ground for a 61-second TKO.
Casey (9-3), a graduate of Season 17 of "The Ultimate Fighter" who counts Muhammad Ali as his father-in-law, evened his UFC record at 1-1.
Bantamweight Rob Font (11-1) enjoyed a spectacular debut, hammering George Roop with a right to the head that literally had the six-foot-one Roop out on his feet. Roop (15-12-1) buckled and then fell to the ground, with referee Chris Tognoni stepping in at 2:19 of the first round.
Brazilian middleweight Bruno Santos evened his UFC record at 1-1 with a 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 split decision over Chris Camozzi. A five-foot-nine slab of muscle, Santos (14-1) was giving up six inches in height but he slammed Camozzi (19-8) to the ground several times and dominated the grappling.
Camozzi, whose UFC record dropped to 6-5 with his third straight loss, was unimpressed by Santos.
"I felt great going into the fight. I trained to fight and he trained to hug me and stall," he said. "He wasted my time, the fans time, and most importantly their money tonight."
Welterweight Kenny Robertson won a decision over Brazilian Ildelmar Alcantara.
Alcantara's older brother Iuri is a bantamweight in the UFC. They are one of 15 brother teams to compete in the UFC.