The lone newcomer on the UFC Orlando card, Contender Series winner Francis Marshall made his promotional debut against Marcelo Rojo on Saturday.
Perhaps overshadowing the coming out party of “The Fire” Marshall was Rojo’s ties to James Krause and Glory MMA and Fitness. In the wake of a betting scandal involving suspicious line movement prior to Glory fighter Darrick Minner’s bout with Shayilan Neurdanbieke last month, Krause had been banished by the UFC, pending the outcome of multiple investigations — and his fighters as well.
However, given the move was only announced on Friday, Rojo was given a reprieve, and allowed to compete on Saturday’s card, per a report by TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter.
A lot of jabs from Marshall were thrown to open the fight. Rojo was expecting a takedown and even bit on a fake level change from Marshall early on. A few times, Rojo landed on the mark with his right hand. Marshall came forward with a flurry and dropped Rojo briefly with a right hand. Against the cage, Rojo kept grabbing the fence but Marshall still got the trip takedown. Rojo eventually worked to his knees and landed a lot of upward elbows to end the round. Still, Marshall ended the last minute and a half on top.
In round two Marshall started off with a nice combination. His head was staying on the centerline so Rojo was landing as well, when he threw. Rojo was getting warmed up and starting to let his hands go and then boom! Marshall landed a big right hand as Rojo stepped away. It sat Rojo down and Marshall landed the follow-up shots putting him out cold.
Official result: Francis Marshall def. Marcelo Rojo by KO (punches), Round 2, 1:14