UFC 166 Fight Card: 3 New Stars Who Emerged in Houston

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2013

Oct 19, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Sarah Kaufman (red gloves) fights against Jessica Eye (blue gloves) in their women's bantamweight bout during UFC 166 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

UFC 166 was one of the all-time great cards in MMA history. Between classics like Diego Sanchez-Gilbert Melendez and the many knockouts, fans were treated to a great night of fights.

Although the usual suspects delivered and kept their star shining bright, there were three fighters who emerged out of the ashes and made themselves stars. They used their debuts to rocket their stock and show fans they are legit.

Here are those three men (and women) that emerged as stars through the thicket that was UFC 166.


Kyoji Horiguchi

Japanese buzzsaw Kyoji Horiguchi found himself in trouble early at UFC 166, but quickly turned things around. Despite being the much smaller man, he found his inner warrior and smashed Dustin Pague into oblivion with his powerful punching ability.

Horiguchi, a disciple of Kid Yamamoto, showed shades of his fellow countryman through his stance, style and power. Once given the opportunity, he was able to connect on Pague's chin and end his night in violent fashion.

This is a guy to keep your eye on, especially if he makes the move to flyweight like he should.


Andre Fili

Team Alpha Male got another win in the Octagon, this time in the form of debutant Andre Fili.

Fili came out aggressive and strong once the bell rang. His striking looked crisp, clean and nasty, as he hurt Jeremy Larsen on multiple occasions.

Sure, he missed weight. But, he dropped over 30 pounds in just 12 days and missed the required weight very narrowly.

Fili has become a man to watch at 145, especially with his star-making performance at 145. It will be interesting to see what he can do with a full training camp.


Jessica Eye

The women of MMA are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve, and Bellator vet Jessica Eye gave fans another reason to pay attention to the ladies with her performance at UFC 166.

Eye, taking on a heavy favorite in Sarah Kaufman, used a healthy dose of jabs and technical boxing to earn a close split decision over her foe. It was a shock to many, as Eye is a normal flyweight moving up to bantamweight to get this rare opportunity with the UFC.

Her win over Kaufman earned her top-10 status. It also earned her a wider fan base that has made her a star among the MMA community.