Who's Next? Where The UFN 22 Main Card Fighters Go From Here.
This card took place on Wednesday, September 15th.
For my article previewing the main card, click here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/463409-ufc-fight-night-22-main-card-quick-picks
I was pretty entertained by this card, even if my picks were crappy.
Ross Pearson vs. Cole Miller
Miller wins by submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:42 of Round 2.
Jim Miller vs. Gleason Tibau
Miller wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Efrain Escudero vs. Charles Oliveira
Oliveira wins by submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:25 of Round 3.
Nate Marquardt vs. Rousimar Palhares
Marquardt wins by TKO (Punches) at 3:28 of Round 1.
Bonus: Here's the link to the screenshot of the Wikipedia article reading Marquardt's victory by TKO (Grease): http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/556/picture11l.png
In this article, I'll highlight the eight main card fighters and who I believe they should fight next.
Ross "The Real Deal" Pearson
Result: Lost to Cole Miller by Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
I was surprised to see Miller beat Pearson. Cole used his reach advantage well, and just as it seemed Ross was getting comfortable with the distance, Miller caught him with a combo and rocked him before finishing him with the choke.
Options: Kurt Pellegrino, Efrain Escudero, Joe Stevenson, winner of Guillard/Stephens.
Pellegrino isn't slated to return to the Octagon until early next year, but I would be intrigued by a Pearson/Batman match-up. Pearson vs. Escudero would sell well as TUF Winner vs. TUF Winner, and would make a great headliner for an Ultimate Finale card. Stevenson is one more guy coming off a loss, as well as an injury, who doesn't have a fight set up yet.
Fun fact: I almost added Andre Winner to this list before remembering, oh yeah, they fought like a year ago.
Cole "Magrinho" Miller
Result: Defeated Ross Pearson by Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Miller isn't what I'd call one of my favorite fighters, but he impressed me tonight. There are guys who don't utilize their height and reach, and then there's Cole. He did try to pull guard and go for a few submissions, but the fight ended with Cole hitting Ross with a nice combo, then pouncing on him for the submission.
Options: Jacob Volkmann, Jim Miller, loser of Joe Lauzon/George Sotiropolous (UFC 123).
-Volkmann's a wrestler who would no doubt bring the fight to Miller, which could produce interesting results, considering Volkmann has solid submissions of his own. Jim Miller is another guy who would bring the fight to Cole, and looked great against Gleison Tibau tonight. Finally, I'm sure Cole wouldn't mind a rematch with Lauzon. (For those not in the know, the two fought in the Ultimate Fighter 5 quarterfinals, in an exciting back-and-forth fight. Lauzon hit Cole in the back of the head with an inadvertent elbow, and while Cole was clearly dazed, he elected to keep fighting. Lauzon on Miller's groggy state and won by TKO). Lauzon is also one of my favorite fighters, so I wouldn't mind seeing him shut Cole's mouth.
Result: Lost to Jim Miller (Unanimous Decision)
This was a tough fight to call with Miller's experience and Tibau's strength, but I had picked Tibau to win by a decision. The fight was pretty back and forth, with both guys scoring takedowns, but Miller did more damage in the striking and was more active on the ground, so he deservingly got the Unanimous Decision.
It's hard to know what to make of Tibau. He's beaten some mid-level guys in his UFC tenure, but can't seem to make that jump in to the top ten.
Options: Aaron Riley, Thiago Tavares, Yves Edwards.
Riley recently pulled out of a fight with Pat Autinwood set for UFC 119 (and was subsequently replaced by Tavares), but depending on his recovery timetable, he's another experienced fighter who would match up well with Tibau. The same applies to Edwards, who just made a successful return to the UFC. Assuming Tavares beats Autinwood, I think he would match up well stylistically with Tibau.
Result: Defeated Gleison Tibau by Unanimous Decision.
I'll admit that I thought Tibau would win the fight, but what does Miller have to do to get some respect? Maybe his win over Mark Bocek was considered controversial, but Miller is 7-1 in the UFC, with his only loss being to an undefeated top contender in Gray Maynard.
Options: Kenny Florian, Cole Miller.
Miller vs. Miller would be a mouthful, but both guys are coming off wins and love to push the action. There's little doubt that (Cole) Miller would talk some trash about Jim's record of not finishing fights, and if that leads to a staredown that's half as intense as Cole's with Ross Pearson, expect a good fight. Florian, on the other hand, is rebounding off a loss to Maynard and poses an interesting skillset that could challenge Jim.
Efrain "Hecho En Mexico" Escudero.
Result: Lost to Charles Oliveira by Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Escudero came in well over weight at 159 pounds, so I'm wondering if there's not some underlying problem that's kept him from performing his best. In any case, Escudero looked alright in a fight that I thought deserved to be Fight of the Night, and there's no shame in getting submitted by a BJJ whiz like Oliveira.
Options: Pearson, Matt Wiman, Mac Danzig, John Gunderson.
I mentioned the possibility of Pearson-Escudero being on an Ultimate Finale card. There's also the option of either of Escudero's initial opponents in Gunderson and Wiman. Since Danzig was supposed to initially fight Wiman, if his injuries heal up before Wiman's do, that's another potential Ultimate Fighter vs. Ultimate Fighter match up.
Update: Escudero was cut from the UFC following the fight.
Charles "Da Bronx" Oliveira
Result: Defeated Efrain Escudero via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Wow. That's all I can say about Charles Oliveira at this point in his UFC career. Efrain Escudero wanted to stand with Oliveira to try and neutralize Oliveira's sick ground game, and Charles obliged, and looked pretty good doing it. Then, in the third round, after being kneed in the groin by Escudero- leading to some antics from the always-entertaining Joe Rogan- Oliveira scored a big takedown before taking Escudero's back and sinking in the standing RNC.
Options: Dustin Hazelett, Thiago Tavares, Terry Etim.
I do hope the UFC takes their time with Oliveira. There's no doubt he's talented, but the kid isn't even old enough to compete on The Ultimate Fighter! Both Hazelett and Tavares have fights scheduled right now, but Tavares fights at UFC 119, and win, lose, or draw, a matchup with Oliveira could produce a sick ground war. Hazelett is currently slated to fight Mark Bocek at UFC 124, but injuries certainly happen, and if Bocek goes down, an Oliviera/Hazelett fight would no doubt result in some incredible BJJ (assuming Oliveira wouldn't obliterate McLovin on the feet), and the same would go for a bout with Etim.
Rousimar "Toquinho" Palhares
Result: Lost to Nate Marquardt via TKO (Punches)
In an interesting ending, Palhares had gone for his bread-and-butter, the heel hook, which Marquardt slipped out of. Palhares, suspecting Marquardt had greased, looked at referee Herb Dean (or his corner), pointing at Marquardt's legs (Marquardt was checked and no grease was foun) Unfortunately for Paul Harris, the fight was still ongoing, and Marquardt swarmed him with punches until Dean stopped the fight. In fairness to Palhares, the fight was pretty evenly matched before the odd turn of events, and a loss to Marquardt isn't too much of a setback for anyone.
Options: Bisping/Akiyama loser, Chris Leben, Gerald Harris.
To be fair, I just want to see Leben fight again after the two weeks he had earlier this summer. Harris is in the same situation. Justl like Palhares, he's a big strong grappler who likes to finish fights brutally. Finally, the Palhares-Marquardt fight had similar title implications as the Bisping-Akiyama fight, so having the losers face off would make sense. Besides, seeing Palhares rip off Bisping's leg (if Bisping does in fact lose) might not shut Bisping's mouth, but would be entertaining nonetheless.
Nate "The Great" Marquardt
Result: Defeated Rousimar Palhares via TKO (Punches)
As highlighted on Palhares' page, Marquardt capitalized on an odd situation and scored a TKO victory over Palhares. It's unfortunate that Marquardt wasn't in this position a year ago. Dan Henderson was still in the UFC (though Henderson and Marquardt were rumored to fight before Henderson signed with Strikeforce), and Rich Franklin was still fighting at Middleweight. There are still plenty of interesting fights for Marquardt at 185 in any case.
Options: Bisping-Akiyama winner, Wanderlei Silva, Alan Belcher (praying for a speedy and full recovery for him)
Again, as I mentioned earlier, Marquardt-Palhares and Bisping-Akiyama have similar implications, so it would make a lot of sense to have the winners fight in a title eliminator. Silva and Marquardt are both veterans of the sport who have yet to face each other, and a fight between those two could produce fireworks. Finally, Belcher- who is currently sidelined and possibly facing retirement due to an eye injury- called out Anderson Silva after his win over Patrick Cote. If he makes a timely recovery, a fight with Marquardt could help him prove that, to quote Manowar, with dreams to be a king, first one should be a man.
Thanks For Reading!
In any case, with UFC 119 coming up, there are plenty of good matches to be made across the UFC.
Thanks for reading!