Tonight's UFN 22 card has been reshuffled multiple times since it was first confirmed. It seems like just yesterday that Demain Maia vs Alan Belcher was the main event and Matt Wiman vs Mac Danzig was the co-main. An injury to Belcher, Wiman and Danzing forced some changes but Joe Silva always seems to come through. Now we'll be getting Nate Marquardt vs Rousimar Palhares and Efrain Escudero vs Charles Oliveira. I would argue the show got better. In we go.
Nate Marquardt vs Rousimar Palhares - This is a huge fight for Marquardt. A loss would give him two in a row and put him in the middle of the pack at Middleweight. A win would mean he's maybe one win away from finally getting another crack at the belt. The consensus opinion is Palhares is a strong jiu-jitsu player with skills far exceeding Nate's on the ground while Marquardt is probably the most well-rounded fighter at 185lbs. Palhares can't win this fight as long as Nate remains upright and after what happened with Chael Sonnen, he's probably been drilling takedown defense like a man possessed. He's the pick. Marquardt via unanimous decision.
Efrain Escudero vs Charles Oliveira - This is an interesting fight if only because Escudero had a ton of hype coming out of TUF and has yet to live up to it and now Oliveira is being touted as a potential Lightweight Jon Jones. Matt D. had a nice write up about the BJJ clinic Oliveria ran on Darren Elkins back at UFC on Versus 2. Are we likely to see something like that again? Probably not with a scrappy fighter like Escudero. It's always dangerous to fall into the trap of thinking a guy is going to be a star because he picked up a quick win and looked really impressive in the process. Give me Efrain. Escudero via unanimous decision.
Jim Miller vs Gleison Tibau - Here's the thing about this fight. Gleison Tibau is gigantic. I always hate to use size as an advantage for a guy in a fight once you get to this high of a skill level but Tibau is just too big for Miller. He would need to use his wrestling to control the fight and try to wear down Gleison but I don't think it's going to happen. It's too bad too because winning this fight would give him 5 in a row. One more thing to consider. In 19 career professional fights he's only ever lost to Frank Edgar and Gray Maynard. Add one more to that. Tibau via unanimous decision.
Cole Miller vs Ross Pearson - I get the feeling that the UFC is really hoping for a win by Pearson here. I think they'll get their wish. Can Cole submit him? He sure can. Can he get him to the mat before getting clipped and put away? I doubt it. Strength vs agility here and strength has the clear advantage where the fight starts. The UFC loves to cultivate British fighters and a big win is coming for another one here. Pearson via TKO in Round 2.
Quick picks for the undercard after the jump.Undercard
Yves Edwards vs John Gunderson - I would really like to see Edwards pick up a win here.
Jared Hamman vs Kyle Kingsbury - I would be shocked if Kingsbury can win this fight.
Dave Branch vs Tomasz Drwal - Branch has to win this fight and he will.
Rich Attonito vs Rafael Natal - Pick 'em fight goes to Natal.
David Mitchell vs Anthony Waldburger - Sub from Mitchell quickly could make the live broadcast.
Brian Foster vs Forrest Petz - Upset special in going with Petz.