Photo by Ken Pishna via MMA Weekly.
At a catchweight of 195 lbs., 29-year-old New Jersey native Nick Catone squared off against BloodyElbow.com's #6 ranked middleweight prospect Constantinos Philippou in the opening bout of the UFC 128 fight card.
The opening round was a stalemate on the feet as both men were hesitant to engage. Eventually, Catone shot in with a weak takedown attempt, transitioning to the clinch and landing some short shots while receiving the same back from Philippou. Towards the latter part of the round, Catone was able to take down Philippou and do some significant damage on the floor with elbows, cutting open Philippou.
More dominance from Catone in the second as he initiated an early clinch and damaged Philippou along the fence with knees. Catone found his timing on the feet, battering a lazy striking Philippou for the rest of the round before getting a single leg takedown late. From half guard, Catone threw elbows from the top to secure the round.
Catone gained a double leg takedown in the third, blanketing Philippou for the majority of the round with strikes from top control. The judges scored the bout 30-27 across the board in favor for Nick Catone.
Nick Catone def. Constantinos Philippou via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Catone was originally set to battle Dan Miller, but Yoshihiro Akiyama withdrew from a marquee match-up with Nathan Marquardt due to the recent events in Japan. Philippou stepped in to the open slot on roughly one week's notice.
Catone amassed a 2-2 record under the UFC's banner, narrowly edging out Jesse Forbes in his last performance in January at UFC Fight Night 20 to stave off a release from the promotion. He previously lost to Mark Munoz and Tim Credeur following a debut victory over Derek Downey at UFC Fight Night 17 in April of 2009.
Philippou was part of the cast of The Ultimate Fighter season 11, but he made a quick exit from the show -- losing during the elimination round in an upset at the hands of Jon Henle. Since the show, he's remained undefeated with two victories and one no-contest with his most notable win coming against fellow ranked Scouting Report fighter Uriah Hall.