Nate’s Back, Halts Palhares in One
AUSTIN, September 15 – Middleweight contender Nate Marquardt got back in the win column in his first bout since losing to Chael Sonnen in February, stopping grappling ace Rousimar Palhares in the first round at the Frank Erwin Center Wednesday night to put himself back on the road to a 185-pound title shot.
Palhares looked nervous moments before his first UFC main event, and Marquardt wasn’t about to let him get settled, as he used his movement and angles as the bout opened to keep his foe from getting his bearings for a takedown. It wasn’t the most scintillating start, and the fans let the fighters know it, but with the stakes high, one false move would be all it took to end the bout.
Midway through the round, Palhares was able to secure a takedown, yet after trying to lock up Marquardt’s leg and failing to do so, Palhares looked to referee Herb Dean to say his opponent’s legs were greased. In the midst of this sequence, Marquardt landed a right hand down the pipe, hurting the Rio de Janeiro product. A follow-up barrage of punches finished matters seconds later, with Dean calling the fight at 3:28 of the opening round.
After the bout, Dean and members of the Texas commission checked Marquardt’s legs and found them free of any illegal substances.
With the win, Marquardt improves to 33-9-2; Palhares falls to 20-3.
After winning his first UFC fight in August in just 41 seconds, 20-year old lightweight phenom Charles Oliveira took a little longer the second time around, but it was the same result, as he impressively submitted Efrain Escudero in the third round of the UFC Fight Night co-main event.
Oliveira, who defeated Darren Elkins last month, was perpetual motion when freed of Escudero’s clutches in the first round, firing off strikes and looking for a takedown opportunity. Escudero’s gameplan appeared to be focused on landing a finishing counter, and when that didn’t happen, tying up his foe and overpowering him. Each lightweight would find success at various times, but it was Oliveira’s flashier attack that got a rise out of the pro-Escudero crowd. With less than a minute left, Escudero turned an Oliveira takedown attempt around and got in the top position, landing a couple strikes to the head just before the bell.
90 seconds into the second round, Oliveira was able to trip Escudero to the mat, but “Hecho en Mexico” easily got back to his feet and resumed his countering attack. Oliveira tried to make something happen with some flashy knees at close range, but Escudero remained cool and steady, not getting drawn into his foe’s game. But after a few kicks landed for the showboating Oliveira late in the round, it was obvious that Escudero’s patience was being tested.
An inadvertent low kick by Oliveira to open the third round didn’t help matters for Escudero, but after a brief pause, it was evident that he was going to turn up the heat on the Brazilian youngster. After pinning him to the fence, a low left knee brought another halt to the action, this time for Oliveira to recover from the illegal blow. And once the action resumed, a fight broke out, with Oliveira getting a huge takedown. Escudero rose quickly, but he did so with Oliveira on his back, and after “Do Bronx” sunk in a rear naked choke, it was over, as Escudero tapped out at the 2:25 mark of the final round.
With the win, Oliveira improves to 14-0; Escudero, who weighed in at 159 pounds for the bout, falls to 14-2.
Lightweight contender Jim Miller made it five wins in a row, using a solid standup attack to pound out a three round unanimous decision victory over Gleison Tibau.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28.
Both fighters traded hard shots to open the bout, with the fight hitting the mat late in the opening minute. Miller battled his way back to his feet soon after and rocked Tibau briefly with a punch to the head. In response, Tibau looked for a takedown, but Miller wasn’t playing along and he got to his feet. With under two minutes left, Miller’s first takedown attempt was rebuffed, but his quality standup work kept him in the lead as he went back to his corner at the end of the round.
Miller’s striking accuracy continued to pay dividends in round two as he rocked Tibau again in the opening minute. The Jersey standout moved in for a quick finish, but Tibau cleared his head and was able to hold on and get back in the fight. Midway through the round, Tibau got the takedown, but he was unable to keep his foe there, and Miller resumed his attack on the feet until a late takedown from the Brazilian put him on his back against the fence.
The pace dipped in the third round, with each fighter understandably winded from the previous ten minutes of battle. This made the final frame tough to score, as each fighter had his moments offensively and defensively before the final bell.
With the win, Miller improves to 18-2; Tibau falls to 31-7.
Rising lightweight star Cole Miller made an emphatic statement to his 155-pound peers in the main card opener, shaking off a slow start to submit fellow up and comer Ross Pearson in the second round.
Despite a sizable reach disadvantage, Pearson was able to score early with his kicks and a thudding left to the face. With a minute and a half gone, Miller was able to briefly get the fight to the mat, but Pearson quickly rose. Moments later, Miller tried to pull guard, but when that didn’t work, he started shooting hard shots down the middle at his opponent. Pearson never lost his cool, and when he picked his shots, he usually landed flush, drawing oohs from the crowd and putting points in the bank.
Pearson began the second by working the body and tossing off a telegraphed takedown attempt from Miller. When the standup resumed, “The Real Deal” began landing more with his right hand, but Miller’s own right hand rocked the Ultimate Fighter winner. Sensing this, Miller went in for the finish, and after dropping Pearson with a big left hand, he took Pearson’s back and forced a tap out due to a rear naked choke at the 1:49 mark, capping off an emotional victory for the Georgia native.
With the win, Miller improves to 17-4; Pearson falls to 13-4.