Championship bouts and CM Punk gained much of the UFC 225 spotlight throughout the week, but the loaded card saw the preliminary bouts feature its share of big names competing.
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans looked to turn back the clock and outlast Anthony Smith. Unfortunately for Evans, he was only able to last about fifty seconds, before Smith connected with a knee on his way to a knockout victory. After the fight, Smith called out Sam Alvey.
In an under-the-radar top-15 fight, former UFC title challenger #7 Ricardo Lamas took on #11 Mirsad Bektic. While the fight certainly won't be taking home any fight of the night honors, the prospect Bektic is a prospect no more, and likely jumped into the top-10 in the division with his decision victory.
Another former title challenger in #3 Claudia Gadelha tried to inch her way back into title contention by squaring off with the first ever UFC Strawweight Champion in #6 Carla Esparza. Even though Esparza was able to drop Gadelha with a first round overhand right, Gadelha controlled the majority of the fight on her way to a unanimous decision, although the Chicago crowd didn't agree.
If #1 Joseph Benavidez is ever to get a third crack at the UFC Flyweight god in Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson, he had to get past #5 Sergio Pettis, who was looking for a title shot of his own. To the surprise of many, Sergio Pettis was able to stop several takedown and pepper one of the consensus best flyweights of all-time in Benavidez. Pettis was able to score a huge split decision victory.