Esther Lin of MMA Fighting
Reza Madadi and Cristiano Marcello opened the UFC 153 card with a crowd-pleasing scrap, but it was Marcello who eventually came out on top. After three rounds of solid action on the feet, Marcello was award a split decision victory with scores of 29-28, 28-29, and 30-27. It wasn't the bout most expected from the two men, but it was a fun start to the night nonetheless.
Marcello was the one throwing strikes early but it was Madadi that was closing the distance. Madadi finally got going with his jab a bit, but really wasn't showing a lot of aggression over the first two minutes. Both were throwing winging punches, and it was Madadi that started to land a bit and back Marcello off. Marcello had some blood coming out of his nose. Madadi got a takedown with 40 seconds in the round but backed off. He told Marcello to 'get up, bitch' and got warned by the ref for using 'offensive language'. That was definitely the highlight of the round.
Madadi got off to a quicker start in round two, but both men were throwing and connecting early. Marcello landed a nice kick and body shot. The two brawled against the cage with Madadi getting the better of it. At distance though, Marcello was doing damage and opened a small cut over Madadi's eye. Madadi started battering Marcello against the cage and Marcello straight up ran away. He ended up back in the same spot though, and pulled guard. The ref stood them up in under 20 seconds. Go Brazil.
Madadi clipped Marcello with a winging right early in the final round. Madadi got a takedown a minute into the round. After landing a couple of punches, he backed out and let Marcello up. Marcello was definitely landing more over the first half of the round. Marcello landed a spinning back kick, which made Madadi raise his arms and bow to the crowd. They booed. Madadi chased Marcello down and landed some punches, but Marcello responded with two shots and some body work that slowed Madadi up a bit. Marcello closed out strong.