Spike TV will air a one-hour “UFC Prelims” special in conjunction with next month’s UFC 128 event.
Sources close to the event today confirmed the broadcast plans with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The March 19 broadcast, which precedes the night’s pay-per-view main card, features light heavyweights Luiz Cane (10-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) vs. Karlos Vemola (8-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and lightweight strikers Edson Barboza (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Anthony Njokuani (13-4 MMA, 0-0 WEC).
Featuring a light heavyweight title fight between current champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and late replacement Jon Jones, “UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones” takes place March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Vemola turned around an unsuccessful octagon debut in his most recent performance when he railroaded Seth Petruzelli at November’s UFC 122 event. In fact, his out-of-the-gate loss to Jon Madsen at UFC 116 was the sole occasion he failed to implement a Blitzkrieg style of ground and pound that put his first seven opponents on ice within the first round.
His opponent, Cane, is a heavy-handed foe who’s hit hard times in his two most recent octagon outings. The trouble started more than a year ago when he proved unready for a big step up in competition against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and was knocked out inside two minutes at UFC 106. It took 17 seconds longer, but his next engagement ended the same way when French striker Cyrille Diabate put him out at UFC 114 in May. The losses erased hype built from a three-fight win streak that included victories over Jason Lambert, Rameau Thierry Sokodjou and Steve Cantwell.
Barboza, meanwhile, burst on to the UFC scene at November’s UFC 123 event. The 24-year-old used a devastating arsenal of low kicks to chop down replacement opponent Mike Lullo. After dropping his opponent a handful of times with the vicious low attacks, Barboza was granted a third-round TKO win in the preliminary bout. The win was Barboza’s seventh straight victory to open his career, and all seven wins have come via stoppage.
Njokuani makes his first appearance in the UFC’s octagon after fighting seven times for the promotion’s recently merged sister organization, the WEC. A striking specialist, Njokuani earned four wins for the WEC, and all four came via TKO. Njokuani fought most recently at WEC 52, where he earned a second-round TKO win over Edward Faaloloto with a vicious standing elbow strike.
The latest UFC 128 card now includes:
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view)
- Champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Jon Jones (for light-heavyweight title)
- Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland
- Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus
- Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Nate Marquardt
- Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs. Brendan Schaub
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
- Luiz Cane vs. Karlos Vemola
- Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani
- Ricardo Almeida vs. Mike Pyle
- Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau
- Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian Loveland
- Raphael Assuncao vs. Manny Gamburyan
- Nick Catone vs. Dan Miller