Pellegrino won all three rounds against Thiago Tavares with scores of 29-27, 29-27 and 29-28.
In a light-heavyweight action, Tim Boetsch reminded fans of his impressive debut at UFC 81 with a commanding performance against newcomer Mike Patt.
Answering a counter leg kick with a hard right, Boetsch knocked Patt to the floor and ground and pounded for the referee stoppage at 2:03 of the first round.
Jason MacDonald, who was submitted with a rear-naked choke by Demian Maia at UFC 87, used the same move to spoil Jason Lambert's drop to middleweight.
MacDonald secured Lambert's back with a body triangle and then applied the choke for the tap out at 1:20 of the second round.
In the opening bout of the night, PRIDE Bushido veteran Ryo Chonan won a split decision over American Top Team's Roan "Jucao" Carneiro in a rematch from over three years ago at DEEP 18th Impact in Japan.
For our live round-by-round results of the main card, click here.
UFC 88: Breakthrough
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia
1. Ryo Chonan def.
Roan Carneiro via split decision
2. Jason MacDonald def. Jason Lambet via submission (RNC) - R2 (1:20)
3. Tim Boetsch def. Mike Patt via TKO (strikes) - R1 (2:03)
4. Kurt Pellegrino def. Thiago Tavares via unanimous decision
5. Dong Hyun Kim def. Matt Brown via split decision
6. Nate Marquardt def. Martin Kampmann via TKO (strikes) - R1 (1:22)
7. Dan Henderson def. Rousimar Palhares via unanimous decision
8. Rich Franklin def. Matt Hamill via TKO (kick to the body) - R3 (0:39)
9. Rashad Evans def. Chuck Liddell via KO - R2 (1:51)