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UFC 128: Prelims on Facebook Preview

Before Jon Jones steps into the octagon to challenge Mauricio Rua this Saturday, we'll be treated to free fights on Spike TV, and Facebook.  As has become custom with UFC fight cards, two fights will be streamed live via the UFC Facebook Page to all of those who "like" the page.  The Facebook stream begins live at 8 pm ET, and features two quality match ups.

Mike Pyle vs. Ricardo Almeida:

When Mike Pyle steps into the cage to face off against Ricardo Almeida, it could very well be a turning point in the career for either man.  Pyle is coming off an impressive win over John Hathaway, a highly regarded young fighter who had defeated Diego Sanchez prior to his fight with Pyle.  Pyle effectively shut him down, and worked his wrestling to secure a unanimous decision victory.  Pyle is not only a solid wrestler, he has decent boxing that can aid in closing the distance, or even win exchanges on the feet.

Almeida is also coming off a win, rebounding from his submission loss to Matt Hughes with a decision victory over T.J. Grant.  Almeida has been in the fight game for a long time, but a four year layoff between his last fight in Pride and his UFC debut did him no favors.  Almeida's ground game is top notch, but the last time he submitted a fighter with any sort of notable ground game was Nate Marquardt - in 2003.  Almeida's facing a stiff test in Pyle, and will have to dig deep if he wants to come out on top in this fight.  Regardless of the outcome, I predict that this will be an exciting fight with exchanges on the feet, scrambles on the ground, and submission attempts to boot.  

Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau:

This is an interesting match that features two lightweights who are trying to reach the next level in MMA, and this fight will serve as a great measure of both man's skill and potential.  Kurt Pellegrino is coming of a tough loss to George Sotiropolous back in June of 2010, where he was battered on the feet and controlled on the ground.  One thing Pellegrino did show us in that fight, was that he has a ton of heart, and he's not easy to finish.  Pellegrino needs to get back to his ground game, and impose his will if he wants to get an impressive victory Saturday night, but with an opponent like Gleison Tibau, it's easier said than done.

Gleison Tibau is a massive lightweight, seriously, the man is the Thiago Alves at 155lbs.  Not only is he larger than most fighters at lightweight, he's also very well rounded for a fighter who has yet to face a major name in the division.  Tibau is coming off a decision loss to Jim Miller, where he once again failed to break through when facing a fighter that would elevate him towards facing stronger competition.  Tibau has solid striking, but chances are if he can't submit you, he'll just try until time is up, and win a decision.  Tibau's BJJ will most likely not be able to get him a submission against Pellegrino, but could Tibau's size allow him to defend take downs and batter him on the feet? 

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