Tibau downs Pellegrino in UFC 128 Facebook opener

It was strength against strength as Kurt Pellegrino faced Gleison Tibau. The UFC veterans are both accomplished grapplers and pretty much nullified each other for 15 minutes, but it was Tibau who was a little bit stronger down the stretch when he was able to score a pair of takedowns in the final two minutes.

The Brazilian walked away with a split decision victory, 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29, in the first fight of UFC 128's Facebook broadcast from Newark, N.J.

After a dead even first round, Pellegrino landed the biggest punch of the fight. With 3:10 left in the second, the New Jerseyan drilled Tibau (22-7, 8-5 UFC) with a right hand that buckled his legs.  He followed that up with another big right, then picked up Tibau and slammed him to the floor. Tibau was clearly stunned but Pellegrino (16-6, 7-5 UFC) couldn't land a fight ending shot and couldn't pass guard to get to side control or the mount. All the work on top, may have tired out Pellegrino for the final round.

Tibau was the fresher, more poised fighter over the final five minutes. He held his hands close to his face and landed some nice shots to mark up Pellegrino under his left eye.

Pellegrino got sloppy with his right hand and was flailing a bit.  Tibau scored a pivotal takedown with two minutes left in the fight and then another with 40 seconds left. That sealed it for Tibau. With the victory, Tibau avoided two straight losses while Pellegrino suffered his second straight defeat.

Pyle edges Almeida behind some big knees

This matchup was almost identical to the previous fight. Ricardo Almeida and Mike Pyle are dynamite ground artists. The Brazilian may be more decorated on the international scene, but Pyle is a gritty MMA veteran, who's pretty solid in all facets of the game.

Pyle, the better conditioned fighter throughout and slicker on the feet, rolled to a unanimous decision victory, 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.{ysp:more}

Pyle's game plan was to keep things on the feet. On two occasions, he dumped Almeida to the mat and basically walked away asking the referee to stand Almeida back up. Pyle (21-7, 4-2 UFC) never landed anything huge but was effective with some knees as Almeida (13-5, 6-5 UFC) shot for takedowns.

Pyle's takedown defense was excellent and when he did go down, he got up quickly. This is a huge win for Pyle, who waited a long time to get to the big show. The 35-year-old has now won three straight with the promotion.

After dropping down from 185 pounds, many thought Almeida would be a force at welterweight. It hasn't worked out for "Big Dog" who's just 2-2 at 170 pounds.

UFC 128 undercard (Courtesy MMAjunkie):

Erik Koch def. Raphael Assuncao via KO (punch) - Round 1, 2:32

Nick Catone def. Costantinos Philippou via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Joseph Benavidez def. Ian Loveland via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

What to Read Next