Jim Miller, Takashi Sato impress at UFC Fort Lauderdale prelims


Jim Miller of Whippany, N.J. reacts after a UFC win. (David Becker/AP)

He’s never been a champion or fought for a title and he’s not a household name among new or casual mixed martial arts fans, yet no fighter has competed in the UFC’s Octagon more times than Jim Miller.

In his record 32nd UFC appearance, the 35-year-old earned a first-round submission victory over Jason Gonzalez in a featured preliminary bout at a UFC Fight Night event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Saturday night.

Miller, who competed in front of his wife and four children for the first time in his career, moved into fifth place on the UFC’s all-time wins list.

“It was cool to get my kids to share this experience with me for the first time,” Miller said after the fight. “When they told me that they would have them come cage side, it was like, ‘Oh man, I better go out there and do well.’”

Gonzalez, 29, fell to 11-5 as a pro and has lost three of his four UFC bouts since making his promotional debut in 2016.

In other lightweight action, Brazilian Gilbert Burns earned his first submission victory in three years by tapping out American Mike Davis with a second-round rear-naked choke. Davis had never been finished as a pro and Burns improved his record to 14-3.

The featured preliminary bout saw Japan’s Takashi Sato make a successful UFC debut by violently putting away veteran welterweight Ben Saunders early in the second round of their 170-pound matchup.

The 28-year-old former Pancrase star dropped Saunders with a straight left hand that pierced the guard and he followed it up with a series of vicious elbows that cut Saunders open and forced the referee to step in and call a stop to the action.

The event, which took place at BB&T Center, was headlined by a middleweight contest between Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Jack Hermansson, while the co-main event had former NFLer Greg Hardy take on Dmitry Smolyakov.

Here are the complete results from the preliminary card:

— Takashi Sato def. Ben Saunders by technical knockout
— Augusto Sakai def. Andrei Arlovski by split decision
— Carla Esparza def. Virna Jandiroba by unanimous decision
— Gilbert Burns def. Mike Davis by submission
— Jim Miller def. Jason Gonzalez by submission
— Angela Hill def. Jodie Esquibel by unanimous decision
— Dhiego Lima def. Court McGee by split decision

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