Mike Pyle | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The UFC today made two speculated preliminary contests official, finalizing the 12-bout card for UFC 128 “Shogun vs. Evans.”
Mike Pyle will square off with Ricardo Almeida in a welterweight duel, while Nick Catone will lock horns with Dan Miller in a middleweight affair at the event, which takes place March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The show is headlined by a light heavyweight championship bout between champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and challenger Rashad Evans.
A disciple of Renzo Gracie, Almeida fought the majority of his career at 185 pounds before making the cut to welterweight earlier this year. “Big Dog” is 2-1 at 170 pounds in the UFC, having notched victories over Matt Brown and T.J. Grant at UFC 111 and UFC 124, respectively. Sandwiched between those two wins, however, was a loss to former two-time welterweight champ Matt Hughes at UFC 117 in August.
Like his opponent, Pyle is a seasoned veteran of the sport. The Xtreme Couture product shocked oddsmakers in his last UFC appearance, as he took a unanimous decision over English prospect John Hathaway at UFC 120 in London. A former WEC welterweight titleholder, the 35-year-old has submitted 17 of his 20 career victims.
Catone has fought with mixed results during his UFC career, as the New Jersey native owns a 2-2 record inside the Octagon. After a successful promotional debut in February 2009, Catone suffered the first loss of his career to Tim Credeur two months later at UFC Fight Night 18. The 29-year-old’s most recent bout -- a split decision victory over Jesse Forbes -- was contested over a year ago, as Catone was bitten by the injury bug in 2010.
Miller has bounced back from three straight losses with a pair of victories, besting John Salter and Joe Doerksen at UFC 118 and UFC 124, respectively. The end for Salter came relatively quickly, as Miller slapped on a guillotine choke and forced the submission less than two minutes in the second frame. Doerksen fared better, going the distance but ultimately losing a split decision to the AMA Fight Club representative.