Luis Artur Cane Jr. may be in a must-win situation at UFC 128. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
This one does not lack depth.
The seven preliminary bouts at UFC 128 “Shogun vs. Jones” on Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., features a former bantamweight title contender, arguably the sport’s top prospect at 155 pounds, a former middleweight King of Pancrase and no fewer than half a dozen Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts.
Have no fear, the breakdown and picks are here.
Luis Artur Cane Jr. vs. Eliot Marshall
The Matchup: After emerging as a potential threat to fellow 205-pounders in his first four fights -- he won three and took a disqualification loss against James Irvin -- Cane’s slide of late has been a rough one.
Stopped by Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 106 and then Cyrille Diabate at UFC 114, it appeared holes in his game would overshadow the aggressive style that garnered notice. This is a must-win fight for Cane. In facing Marshall, he has an edge in terms of the the quality of opposition he has faced.
Marshall has been something of a hit-and-miss commodity at the UFC level. After being eliminated from Season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter” in a unanimous decision loss to eventual winner Ryan Bader, he submitted Jules Bruchez at the finale and followed it up with a decision over submission ace Vinny Magalhaes at UFC 97. He then outpointed the talented Jason Brilz, another solid wrestler, at UFC 103, only to lose to a much older wrestler, Vladimir Matyushenko, via split verdict at UFC Live 1.
Cane’s aggressive style brings the fight to every opponent. Nogueira’s stoppage against him was a masterpiece of countering and angles, and Marshall does not figure to be at that level yet, though he does have some standup skills that continue to improve.
Look for Cane to assert himself early and demand exchanges and a fast pace; it is the only way he knows how to fight. Marshall’s submission game is excellent and he improves, as most “The Ultimate Fighter” guys do, with each outing, so the real battle comes down to how he can handle Cane’s attack. This shapes up as a very competitive bout between a younger, improving fighter and a veteran who may or may not have the consistency required to compete at this level despite some potent skills.
The Pick: Marshall by decision.
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