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Miller returns; Rivera says goodbye


The blueprint for Ultimate Fighting Championship events on Fuel TV and FX is this: a mix of fan favorites, new faces and established contenders who, most likely, will be matched in the night's main event.

That's how it went down Friday in Nashville, at least, a card capped by Jim Miller's return to contendership. While Miller stands out for his opening-round win over Melvin Guillard, untested commodities like Nick Denis (11-2), Daniel Pineda (16-7) and Khabib Nurmagomedov made statements inside the Octagon. Each UFC debutant won by stoppage, with Denis and Pineda going so far as to overwhelm the opposition. It doesn't get any better than Denis' standing elbow KO over Joseph Sandoval (6-2).

While kids arrived on the big stage, a grizzled veteran said goodbye.

Say this for middleweight Jorge Rivera: He, like Chris Lytle in August, went out in style. It was an A-worthy performance from the Massachusetts mauler, which is the perfect place to start.

From A to F, here's how the fighters faired in Nashville:

Josh Gross covers MMA for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at JoshGrossESPN.