NEWARK, N.J. – Fighting in the UFC for the first time in seven years, Pat Healy went into enemy territory and outgrinded notable grinder Jim Miller en route to an impressive third-round submission win.

The lightweight bout opened the main card of today’s UFC 159 event at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.

While it was the bigger Healy who stepped forward and took the center of the cage to start, Miller was precise with several counter straights and a snapping inside leg kick that buckled his opponent’s leg. A takedown came soon after, but the wily Healy immediately looked for submissions from his back. Equally adept on the floor, Miller defended each attempt and came dangerously close to locking in an armbar before they ultimately scrambled back to the feet. Healy bounced back with a pair of his own takedowns in the closing moments of the frame, but Miller swept to the top and unleashed a barrage of ground-and-pound blows that busted up his opponent’s right eye.

Despite the damage he absorbed in the first, Healy turned the tide a bit in the second by scoring an early takedown and grinding away with punches from the top and latching in a rear-naked choke when Miller exposed his back. Miller somehow turned in and escaped, but Healy reestablished dominant position and busted up his opponent’s face in a sweet moment of revenge.

Miller showed quick hands to open the third, and he defended an early takedown attempt while trying to take control of the momentum. Just when it seemed he was succeeding, a Healy straight and knee to the gut (or possibly just below) saw Miller slow. Healy capitalized by taking Miller to the floor and shoved him to his back. Miller tried desperately to crawl to his feet, but Healy kept him stuck to the mat and eventually worked to the back, where a rear-naked choke worked under the chin. Miller refused to tap, but the choke was in tight, and referee Herb Dean stepped in for the submission call when it appeared the New Jersey native went briefly unconscious.

“Dude I’m so pumped up,” Healy told UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan after the win. “I’ve been waiting seven years to get interviewed by you, Joe Rogan.

“I’ve been through so much in my career, but there’s one thing you can never question about me, and that’s my heart. I’m going to keep coming until I can’t walk – I’ve got to crawl out of here. So no matter what, I’m always going to be in the fight.”

An eight-time Strikeforce veteran Healy (30-16 MMA, 1-1 UFC) now boasts a seven-fight win streak. Miller (22-5 MMA, 11-4 UFC), a perennial contender in the UFC’s lightweight division, falls to 2-3 in his past five appearances.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 159 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC 159, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

Matt Erickson and Steven Marrocco contributed to this report on-site in Newark.

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