MONTREAL – Early on, Patrick Cote appeared to be more of a predator at welterweight than middleweight, but the tough Bobby Voelker proved to be no easy prey.

Still, Cote’s work in the first two rounds was enough to win the day as the judges handed down a unanimous call for the onetime middleweight title challenger.

The welterweight fight served as the final preliminary-card bout at UFC 158, which took place Saturday at Montreal’s Bell Centre. It aired on FX prior to the pay-per-view main card.

Voelker, who made his octagon debut after a stint in the now-defunct Strikeforce, had no qualms about trading punches with the heavy-handed Cote in the opening moments of the bout. But at least initially, that proved to be a losing proposition as Cote landed several heavy punches that prompted him to look for the takedown.

Still, Cote proved to be no less of a threat on the ground. Throwing up multiple armbar attempts, Voelker’s ground and pound was stymied.

Voelker found more success striking in the second frame. Cote managed to land an uppercut that staggered him, but Voelker responded with brilliantly timed knees. Cote then looked for the takedown, and though he secured it, Voelker returned to his feet and quickly returned the favor. Cote again angled for submissions but also found himself on the receiving end of ground and pound.

With a close fight on the books, the two men again went toe-to-toe early in the third. But Cote appeared to be running low on gas and looked for the takedown. He found no luck, and Voelker again landed big with a left hand and knee. Things continued to get worse for Cote as Voelker took him to the mat and landed shots from top position.

It looked as though Voelker had done enough to secure the upset, but judges ruled unanimously for Cote and awarded him two of three rounds, 29-28.

“I thought I won the first two rounds, but it was a good, competitive, close fight,” Cote said. “I felt good at the weight for the first time at welterweight, but I got real tired after the second round, and he pushed me around in the last round.”

Following a win by disqualification over Alessio Sakara in his most recent fight, which also took place at Bell Centre, Cote (19-8 MMA, 6-8 UFC) now boasts back-to-back wins.

Voelker (24-9 MMA, 0-1 UFC) sees a three-fight Strikeforce win streak snapped.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 158 Finale results include:

For complete coverage of UFC 158, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

Matt Erickson and Ben Fowlkes contributed to this report on-site in Montreal.

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