Diego Sanchez defeats Jim Miller at UFC 196

Diego Sanchez rallied with clean strikes in Round 3 to secure a decision win over Jim Miller on the undercard of UFC 196. Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

LAS VEGAS -- After a brief, unsuccessful detour to the featherweight division, Diego Sanchez returned to 155 pounds and picked up a decision win Saturday against Jim Miller.

Sanchez (25-8) out-worked Miller during their lightweight bout on the undercard of UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena, landing 80 total strikes to Miller's 58, according to Fightmetric. All three judges scored the bout 29-28.

It marked the 34-year-old Sanchez's 23rd trip to the Octagon, which moves him into a tie for ninth-most in company history.

"I've got a masterful coaching staff that put a great game plan together," Sanchez said. "I knew if I hit him enough times in the body he would start to slow down. I was just trying to get back in the win column."

Sanchez, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, took Miller down midway through Round 1 and controlled him the rest of the round. He didn't score a ton of significant damage from top position but clearly won the round.

Miller (25-8) evened the score in the second round, as he found a frequent home for the counter left hand. He visibly hurt Sanchez with a high head kick, but Sanchez did well backing up and circling out of trouble. Later in the round, Sanchez attempted to get it back to the floor but Miller countered with a guillotine.

In the third round, Sanchez stole back momentum to win the fight. He started to find a rhythm on the feet and landed several good right hands. The win improves him to 2-1 in his last three. He also rebounds from a loss to Ricardo Lamas in a 145-pound fight in November. Miller is 1-4 in his last five.

"I'm just looking to get back soon and continue to fight on big cards," Miller said. "The only thing I can guarantee is when I fight, I'll fight my butt off. I can't guarantee that I'll win."

Latifi outworks Villante to earn decision

Light heavyweight Ilir Latifi (12-5) defeated Gian Villante (14-7) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Latifi, of Sweden, landed only 23 total strikes in the contest compared to Villante's 37, according to Fightmetric, but he scored several takedowns. Latifi also staggered Villante with a big overhand left in Round 3.

Villante, who fights out of New York, falls to 4-4 in the UFC.

"I knew Gian was a tough fighter and I was prepared for a tough fight," Latifi said. "I'm coming for the belt, whoever is in my way, I am coming. I would like to fight Ryan Bader or anyone else in the top five."

Anderson gets past Lawlor

Light heavyweight Corey Anderson (8-1) earned a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over veteran Tom Lawlor (11-5), good for his third win in a row.

The 30-27 scores were a bit surprising, as Lawlor hurt Anderson badly in the opening round with right uppercuts and appeared on the verge of knocking him out. Anderson out-struck Lawlor 66-35, however, according to Fightmetric and scored a takedown in the final round.

"It was a good fight, it was a battle and I enjoyed it because I knew it would be a tough fight with Tom," Anderson said. "I just want to keep moving up the ladder and sometimes this game isn't about beating ranked opponents but instead it's about building yourself."

Lawlor, 32, saw a two-fight win streak snapped. After years of competing at 185 pounds, Lawlor has now fought twice at 205.

Nunes edges Shevchenko

Female bantamweight Amanda Nunes (12-4) strengthened her case for a future title shot, as she extended her win streak to three with a decisive win over Valentina Shevchenko (12-2). Three judges scored the bout for Nunes, 29-27, 29-27 and 29-28.

Fighting out of Coconut Creek, Florida, Nunes took Shevchenko down in the first two rounds and nearly finished her with a rear-naked choke.

Nunes faded in the last round but Shevchenko couldn't mount a strong enough comeback to overcome the poor start.

"I am ready to get my title shot," Nunes said. "I've fought top-five opponents for a while now, but now it's my time. Every day I am bringing in new training and technique and I am very proud of myself for what I am accomplishing."

Taleb blows away Silva

Welterweight Nordine Taleb (15-3) scored an emphatic knockout against Erick Silva (18-7) at 1:30 of the second round.

Taleb caught a body kick near the waist and answered with a cracking right hand down the middle. Silva spun around and landed headfirst into the canvas.

"Erick did the kick repetitively," Taleb said. "I saw it three or four times and you can't throw a shot like that without setting it up against me."

The victory was Taleb's sixth career knockout and moves him to 2-1 in the UFC.

Bahadurzada submits Thatch

Welterweight Siyar Bahadurzada (22-6-1) submitted Brandon Thatch (11-4) via arm-triangle at 4:11 of the third round, ending a two-fight skid in the process.

Thatch looked good in a few early exchanges, but Bahadurzada consistently answered back with heavy boxing. He hurt Thatch with a left hook in the third before wrapping up the finish.

Bahadurzada was making his first appearance in the cage since December 2013. Thatch, once considered a strong prospect in the welterweight division, suffered his third consecutive defeat.

Elkins takes decision from Skelly

Featherweight Darren Elkins (20-5) earned a grueling decision over Chas Skelly (15-2) by judges' scores of 30-27, 30-26 and 29-27.

Elikins relentlessly smothered Skelly with takedown attempts and cautious-but-effective striking.

Elkins landed several good left hooks early and scored takedowns in all three rounds. Skelly appeared tired late as Elkins, who fights out of Team Alpha Male, continued to pressure him everywhere. Elkins improved to 10-4 in the UFC.

"The move to Team Alpha Male has been great," Elkins said. "The energy has really changed for me and the coaching staff is great. I really needed a change and the environment over there has really rejuvenated me. I know Chas is a younger guy, but I knew a lot about him, my coaches studied him a lot and we had a lot of film on him."