(Sometimes you forget how enormous Nate Marquardt is, and then you see him standing next to Chandella Powell and you’re like "damn, bro." / Photo courtesy of the UFN 22 Weigh In Pics gallery on CombatLifestyle.com)
What happens when you put two massively-jacked, notoriously aggressive middleweights in a cage together, one of whom is returning from a three-month suspension for his complete disregard of his opponents’ safety? Great things, we’re sure! Live play-by-play for tonight’s UFC Fight Night 22 event on Spike will be poppin’ off after the jump starting at 8 p.m. ET. Check your local listings before wading into spoilers, and refresh the page every few minutes to get all the latest results for Marquardt vs. Palhares, Efrain "El Gordo" Escudero vs. Charles Oliveira, Jim Miller vs. Gleison Tibau, and the outspoken Cole Miller vs. TUF 9 champ Ross Pearson. Be sure to stick around afterwards for the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck — or just read our episode recap tomorrow morning.
Whoa, so that "Ultimate Gracie" special is going to be after the Ultimate Fighter premiere? I’m never going to get to bed, am I.
Ross Pearson vs. Cole Miller
Cole stays on his "finish people or get out of the way" message during the pre-fight package. He wants to get Ross on the ground so he can "make him look like a joke." Cole appears to give the UG "facka" hand signal, and fist-bumps Bruce Buffer during his intro. Ross gets scattered boos in Austin.
Round 1: Leg kick Pearson. Miller throws a counter-right, and Pearson lands a couple more outside leg kicks. Pearson slips in with a left hook, then a leg kick. Pearson charges in with more punches, and Miller drops for a single leg to avoid getting lit up. Miller converts the takedown, but Pearson quickly pops up and separates. Miller lands a knee, they exchange punches, and Miller jumps on for a standing guard pull. It doesn’t turn into anything so Miller jumps off, throws a side kick and separates. Pearson brushes Miller back with a hard punch. Pearson lands a stiff jab, and a leg kick. And another. Pearson goes for hooks to the body, then connects again to Miller’s dome. Miller returns some side kicks to the body. Miller leg kicks, and Pearson gives it right back, and adds a punch. Another lef hook for Pearson. Miller with more of those side kicks. The round ends. It’s a clear 10-9 for the Brit, who landed more and harder.
Round 2: Pearson lands first with a leg kick. They trade punches. Pearson with a hook to the liver. Miller shoots and tries to establish guard, but Pearson slips out and gets to his feet. Nice 1-2 from Pearson. Miller has a four-inch reach advantage, but he’s not using it. Miller tries a flying knee and rocks Pearson with a punch combo on the way down! Pearson crumbles after eating a left hook, and Miller pounces on his back. Miller sets up a rear-naked choke and immediately gets the tap.
Cole Miller def. Ross Pearson via submission (rear-naked choke), 1:49 of round 2. Miller dumps hate on wrestlers and point-fighters as soon as he gets the mic. "This ain’t football. People gotta come in here and fight." Cole Miller has an angle now; he’s the patron saint of fight-finishers. It’s a good career move, actually.
Jim Miller vs. Gleison Tibau
We stay in the lightweight division. Miller predicts a submission victory. He knows that a win here (his fifth straight, potentially) would put him in the upper echelon of the lightweight division. Tibau says him and Miller will be "like two bulls" going at it in the cage.
Round 1: Miller lands a leg kick. Tibau responds with some hard punches, that Miller returns. Tibau catches a leg kick from Miller and tosses him down. Miller works to his feet without taking any damage. Miller stumbles Tibau with a jab and stalks him to the cage, but Tibau takes Miller down. Miller briefly threatens with a guillotine before getting to his feet. They clinch against the fence for a bit, then separate. Both guys come in punching. Tibau catches another kick, but Miller escapes without falling on his ass. Miller shoots forward and they pummel against the fence. Leg kick Tibau, which Tibau nearly catches. Hey, it’s Brocktober! Tibau starts landing some punches. TIbau catches a leg again. Miller and Tibau trade hard punches. Tibau gets in a straight left as Miller tries a knee. Close first round; the edge might go to Tibau.
Round 2: Gleison charges forward with punches. Miller lands a big left and has the Brazilian on his heels. Miller tries to jump on Tibau’s back and end the fight Cole Miller-style, but Tibau escapes. Miller gives him a knee to the body and grabs onto a leg. Tibau defends the takedown. Tibau lands a knee in the clinch. Miller gets a thai clinch and throws a knee before breaking. Tibau slips under a punch and scroes a slick takedown. Tibau gets to his feet when Miller starts setting up a sub. Miller with a body kick. He throws a looping left that misses. Both guys land short punches. Tibau with a straight left. Miller tries a single-leg that fails. Tibau tries a double that scores, but gets out when Miller starts looking for a triangle. That’s the bell. Could be 2-0 Tibau, but it was another close frame.
Round 3: Both guys get to boxing. Miller with a leg kick. Miller rushes in looking for a death blow but gets clinched up. Miller lands a great knee to Tibau’s chin to break up with clinch. Leg kick Miller. Tibau tries for a takedown but is rebuffed. Tibau looks for a guillotine against the fence, transitions to a kimura, but gets neither. Miller just hangs on for a while, and the crowd doesn’t approve. Gleison wriggles out and shoots for his own takedown, but doesn’t get it. The referee breaks up a standing stalemate. Miller tries for a takedown, Tibau defends and throws him a knee on the way out. Miller jumps forward with a knee, Tibau clinches. That’s the last bell in a close, but not particularly interesting match.
Jim Miller def. Gleison Tibau via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28). Damn, I was way off on that one. In retrospect, that second round was definitely Jim’s. But the other two really could have gone either way. Aaaaanyway. It’s time for lightweight fight #3…
But first, Frank Mir and Mirko Cro Cop stop by to hype their UFC 119 main event. Eh, nothing special.
Efrain Escudero vs. Charles Oliveira
Usually, missing weight by a wide margin (as Efrain did) is a bad omen for your performance. We’ll see.
Round 1: Oliveira starts whipping kicks, then lands a flying knee. Escudero clinches up and pushes Oliveira against the fence. The ref breaks ‘em quickly when neither man does anything with the position. Escudero with a hook and a straight right. Oliveira fakes a punch and drops to shoot, but Escudero defends and it’s more clinch-game. They trade knees. Escudero isn’t doing much but grab onto Oliveira’s torso. Oliveria escapes and tries to pull guard, but Escudero isn’t having it. Oliveira with a wild jumping kick, and Escudero counters with a punch. Oliveria with a leg kick, Escudero with a counter left. Oliveira lands another leg kick, then a jab. Oliveria shoots for a single, but Escudero’s defense is solid. Oliveria drags Escudero into his guard, just to get something happening. Escudero in half guard, throwing in some nice elbows here and there. Escudero might have stolen the round there.
Round 2: Oliveira loops a wide right hand, but gets clocked in return. Oliveira with another takedown attempt, and finally gets it after a struggle. But Efrain takes Oliveira’s back in a scramble, then gets to his feet. Escudero with a 1-2. Leg kick Oliveira, then a punch combo and a high kick that lands. Oliveira gets a thai climch and jacks Efrain in the face with a jumping knee. Efrain clinches, tries to take Oliveira down, but can’t. Teep from Oliveira, and sharp body kick. Oliveira gets some confidence and starts clowning Escudero, landing a few kicks between the shuckin’ and jiving. Another leg kick. Oliveira with a jumping teep and a knee. Escudero almost takes Oliveira down but Oliveira scampers away. Oliveria takes round 2 via striking.
Round 3: They double high-five and hug to start the round. Pussies. Escudero takes a low kick to the balls and needs to take a breather. They hug again when Effy comes back in. Teep from Oliveira. Oliveira lands a jab.Escudero throws some hard rights that are mostly blocked. Oliveira comes in with a jumping knee to the ribs, and they clinch against the fence. Now it’s Escudero’s turn to fire a knee up into Oliveira’s crotchal region. It’s a bad one. He sinks to the mat, tries to get up, then drops to the mat again, rubbing his balls. "Hey, it’s a family show," Joe Rogan says. The referee doesn’t seem to know that Oliveira can take a full five minutes, and sends Oliveira in before he’s ready. Oliveira resumes his kicking attack, then slams Escudero. The ball-strike has only made him angrier. Oliveira jumps on Escudero’s back and sets up the rear-naked. Escudero taps standing! Damn. Meteroic rise for this Charles Oliveira kid. And a terrible night for TUF winners.
Charles Oliveira def. Efrain Escudero by submission (rear-naked choke), 2:25 of round 3. "Do Bronx" might have just stolen Cole Miller’s submission of the night bonus. No post-fight interview for him, it seems, which is just as well. If you recall, his closing remarks after the Darren Elkins fight were "Hello UFC, hello San Chiego, no speak English, thank you!" Replace San Chiego with Austin, and you pretty much have it. Anyway, we’re happy for Oliveira. Great jitz, great attitude.
Chael Sonnen and Punkass from TapouT are shown in the crowd, and Chael immediately starts to holler at the camera about something, while Mike Goldberg is introducing the main event. They cut away. Dude, you can’t just cut a promo whenever you feel like it. And it’s time for the headliners…
Nate Marquardt vs. Rousimar Palhares
Round 1: Palhares makes a couple of lunges at Nate’s legs. Nate keeping his distance so far. Palhares runs forward with an uppercut, breaking the tension. The crowd getting antsy already, as both guys are hesitant to commit. Nate throws a punch combo. Palhares dashes in for a takedown. He gets clocked on the way in, but gets Nate down. Nate almost sets up an inverse triangle in a scramble, but Palhares eventually gets to north/south, then side control, and like clockwork, goes for his first heel hook attempt. Nate pulls out and bashes Palhares in the face, stunning him. Nate pours it on until he gets the TKO stoppage.
But what’s this? Palhares gets up and complains that Marquardt was greased. The replay shows Marquardt squirming out of the leg lock, then Palhares trying to get the ref’s attention about it, and getting blasted in the face at that moment. Hmm. Shouldn’t have taken his eyes off his opponent. But doesn’t the Jackson camp already have a reputation for this stuff? Mad sketchy, son.
Nate Marquardt def. Rousimar Palhares via TKO, 3:28 of round 1. The referee and the doctor checked Marquardt’s legs and everything looks above-board. Marquardt says he wanted to work up a good sweat before the fight to stay slippery, but denies doing anything other than that. Controversy over. Time for TUF 12…thanks for hanging out with us.
The undercard results are below. Only one fight ended in a stoppage; Cole Miller would not be impressed.
Yves Edwards def. John Gunderson via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Kyle Kingsbury def. Jared Hamman via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
David Branch def. Tomasz Drwal via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Rich Attonito def. Rafael Natal via unanimous decision (29-28 x 2, 30-27)
Anthony "TJ" Waldburger def. David Mitchell via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Brian Foster def. Forrest Petz via TKO, 1:07 of round 1