Darren Elkins vs. Hatsu Hioki
We head to the featherweight division with a couple of fighters hoping to get back into title-contention, as Darren Elkins (16-3) takes on Hatsu Hioki (26-6-2). Elkins was topped by Chad Mendes most recently, while Hioki has dropped his last two fights. Dan Miragliotta is the third man inside the Octagon.

Elkins, fighting out of Indiana, receives the best ovation to date. Still, not a very packed arena as we begin the second prelim on TV and fourth of the night.

Round 1: Hioki was viewed as a top contender upon entering the UFC, but has had difficulty adjusting. He is looking very smooth right now, mixing levels and landing some nice strikes on Elkins. Just like that, though, the hometown boy answers back with a left. Hioki backs him up a knee, the first real significant strike of the match. Hioki opening up his offensive game more than I've seen since his UFC arrival. Elkins, though, has cut Hioki up, as blood is pouring down his face on the right side. Hioki defends a takedown attempt of the wrestler, and lands a knee, as well. Elkins seems upset and fires off a big combo that ignites the crowd, but Hioki lands a shot to the body that almost doubles Elkins over. He appears hurt, and Hioki is forcing the action. He takes him to the mat and could be looking for a submission. Elkins gets out, transitioning nicely and scores a takedown of his own.

Round 2: Strong start to the round by Elkins, but Hioki takes control with a takedown and swiftly moves to side control. Elkins gets out and free from the submission game of his opponent. We have some excitement from the Indiana faithful, and Elkins eats a knee to the body. Head kick by Elkins is blocked, and Hioki goes back to throwing front kicks in multiples. Elkins has had enough of those and shoots, and scores, with a takedown. Elkins moves to the back, Hioki rolls, and Elkins maintains control. Some very nice mat work from these two. Hioki has a kimura locked, and he drops with it, transitioning to the back and has both hooks in. What a smooth move by Hioki, as Elkins gets out. Hioki again transitions, misses another submission and Elkins winds up on top as the round ends.

Round 3: You have to wonder if both feel this is a do-or-die round, as they are coming out and throwing heavy punches. Elkins scores with another takedown and the crowd shows its appreciation for his efforts. Hioki has been trying many submissions throughout, but they have also allowed Elkins to re-gain control when unsuccessful. Three minutes left and Elkins is just throwing lefts and rights at will. Hioki attempting a triangle choke, but eats a left for his efforts. Hioki nearly secures an arm triangle, but Elkins counters and remains on top in complete control. Elkins finishes strong with some nice ground-and-pound.

Darren Elkins def. Hatsu Hioki via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

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