Pat Healy made the most of his return to the octagon, taking out the hometown hero Jim Miller by choking him unconscious after a back-and-forth battle of attrition. The rear naked choke came at 4:02 of the third round, marking the seventh straight win for Healy to kick off the main card of UFC 159.
Healy came out aggressive closing the distance but it was Miller showing off his continuously improving striking, landing with his jab, and following up with solid left hands. Healy continued to come forward and engage but soon found himself on his back after a slam by Miller. Healy then worked his very active guard, transitioning between submission attempts, but Miller’s ground game was just as good as he went for an armbar as the two battled for position.
After a restart, Healy earned a takedown and then landed some measured ground-and-pound as the round wound down. Miller returned to his feet, then got slammed, but was able to scramble to top position and drop big shots to a bloodied Healy as the bell sounded on a pretty even opening round.
Miller came out targeting the damaged eye of Healy to start the second, but Healy quickly closed the distance and initiated the clinch. The two fighters battled on the cage, before breaking. Miller went to work with his kicks, but again found himself on the cage. Healy wasted little time taking the fight back to the mat, while Miller immediately threatened with submissions from the bottom. Healy managed to posture out and land some brutal elbows, then started to pour on big shots from the top to take control of the second round. As Miller tried to stand, Healy snuck around to take the back, then sunk in a tight rear naked choke attempt. Miller managed to escape and then briefly take top position. Healy remained relentless, taking Miller back to the mat again. After a scramble saw the fighters get back to their feet, Healy got the better of the exchange at the bell.
Both fighters came out with a sense of urgency to start the final round. Healy again looked to close while Miller let his hands fly. He connected with a stinging left hand before Healy closed once again. A scramble ensued, and on the restart Healy landed a solid left hand that backed Miller up. Healy then clinched and took the fight right back to the mat as Miller scrambled to create space and get back to his feet. Healy scored with short elbows from the top, grinding on Miller with less than half a round to go. Healy continued to pepper Miller with strikes, then found an opening to sink a hook in and take the back of Miller. From there Healy snaked his arm under the chin of Miller and cinched up a tight rear naked choke. The tap never came, but the end did as Miller was choked unconscious.
With the submission victory, Pat Healy improves to 30-16 (1-1 UFC), while extending his win streak to seven.