UFC 128 Prelims: Cane Flattens Returning Marshall

By Brian Knapp Mar 19, 2011
Luis Artur Cane (file photo) bounced back at UFC 128. | Sherdog.com

Luis Artur Cane Jr. steamrolled fellow Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Eliot Marshall, as he stopped “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 semifinalist on first-round punches in their preliminary light heavyweight match at UFC 128 “Shogun vs. Jones” on Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Marshall met his demise 2:15 into round one.

Cane wasted no time in backing down his tentative foe. The Brazilian stuffed each of Marshall’s attempted takedowns and went to work with his hands. He followed a straight left with a heavy left uppercut that put Marshall on his back. Cane then delivered a merciless stream of punches and hammerfists on the ground, forcing Marshall to wilt under the extraordinary pressures.

The defeat halted Marshall’s three-fight winning streak. He had never before been finished so quickly.

Barboza Stays Unbeaten, Decisions Njokuani

Undefeated lightweight prospect Edson Barboza Jr. passed his first serious test as a professional, as he took a hotly contested unanimous decision from WEC import Anthony Njokuani. All three judges sided with the gifted Barboza by matching 29-28 counts.

Barboza set the pace in the first round, as he backed up and wobbled the Texas-based Nigerian with a pair of clubbing right hands. Kicks to the legs and body provided nice compliments for the former Ring of Combat champion. Njokuani picked up his work rate in round two, as he mixed up his strikes beautifully and kept Barboza on his heels with lightning-quick punches.

The highly regarded Barboza answered the challenge in the third, as he matched Njokuani punch for punch, kick for kick and punctuated his latest triumph with a highlight-reel wheel kick to the head that nearly finished it in the closing seconds.

Pyle Streak Reaches Three

Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts representative Mike Pyle mixed superior striking with timely takedowns, as he outpointed former King of Pancrase Ricardo Almeida en route to a unanimous decision in their welterweight dark match. All three judges scored it for Pyle: 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Pyle staked his claim to the victory with a strong third round. The 35-year-old Dresden, Tenn., native struck with knees and kicks to the body and delivered a powerful takedown against the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Almeida weathered the attack and defended against a guillotine later in the round, but by then, Pyle had built an insurmountable lead.

The Las Vegas-based Pyle has won three consecutive fights and now owns a 4-2 mark in the UFC.

Split Verdict Puts Tibau Over Pellegrino

Gleison Tibau file photo

Tibau outpointed Pellegrino.
American Top Team’s Gleison Tibau took a controversial split decision from Kurt Pellegrino in a preliminary lightweight duel. Two of the three cageside judges sided with the Brazilian by matching 29-28 counts; a third dissenting vote was cast in Pellegrino’s favor by the same score.

Neither man appeared eager to engage at the outset, as the action between them stalled with regularity in the first round. Pellegrino moved in front in the second, however, as he stunned Tibau with a combination, took him to the ground and attacked in half guard, bloodying the Brazilian as he went. By the end of the period, Pellegrino’s bleach-blonde hair was stained red.

Tibau turned the tables in round three, as he drew blood with punches of his own, put the New Jersey native on his back and worked into side control. Pellegrino ultimately returned to an upright position, only to be met by a series of short left hands during a failed single-leg takedown. In the waning moments, Tibau took Pellegrino’s back from a standing position and was forced to defend a kneebar as the horn sounded.

Benavidez Denies Loveland, Wins Decision

Former WEC bantamweight title contender Joseph Benavidez thwarted a stout challenge from Team Quest’s Ian Loveland, as he captured a hard-fought unanimous decision in a preliminary bout at 135 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Benavidez: 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

The world-ranked Benavidez took control in rounds two and three, as he went on the offensive with takedowns, crisp combinations and ground-and-pound, despite sustaining a cut to the top of his head. The 26-year-old Team Alpha Male representative wobbled Loveland with a right hand and pounced in the third, but he failed to finish and settled for the nod from the judges. Benavidez has won four of his last five fights.

Catone Outpoints Philippou

In his first appearance in more than a year, Nick Catone took a unanimous decision from “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 alum Constantinos Philippou in a 195-pound catchweight dark match. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Catone, who improved to 3-2 inside the Octagon.

Catone controlled the Ring of Combat veteran with takedowns, top control and strikes from above, one of which, a first-round elbow, split open Philippou. The Cypriot faded late, as Catone racked up points on the ground and even mounted Philippou in the third round.

Koch Flattens Assuncao Inside First

Erik Koch could not have scripted a better promotional debut.

A 22-year-old Duke Roufus protégé, Koch wiped out Raphael Assuncao with a crackling right hook in a preliminary featherweight matchup. The end came 2:32 into round one, with the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt on his back and unconscious. The once-beaten Koch, a rising star at 145 pounds, has rattled off three consecutive victories, all of them first-round finishes.

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