UFC Fight Night 22, on the whole, was a fun event. We had some nice finishes but the show ended on a bit of a downer note due to the finish of the main event.
Here are my thoughts on the event's four main card fights:
The main event with Nate Marquardt and Rousimar Palhares was setting up to be a good fight before the convoluted ending. It's unfortunate the fight had to end that way. I don't think Marquardt greased (nor do I have any faith in the Texas commission these days to figure it out), but it certainly did look unusual. If it would have been anybody else trying to apply that leglock other than a leglock master, I wouldn't have thought anything of it. But Palhares has five career wins by leglock. I think he's got a pretty good grasp of what the leg should usually feel like at that stage of the fight. Marquardt did pull out like a hot knife through butter, which surprised me even before Palhares protested (which I didn't even see until they showed the replay). We'll probably never know if Marquardt was greased or not, but it was unusual, that much is for sure. And that's not to take anything away from Marquardt, who performed very well in this fight. It is unfortunate this fight will be slightly tainted, warranted or not, by this speculation. He took care of business and looked good prior to the finish. I just wish Palhares would have exercised a little bit better judgment on deciding when to protest and paid attention to his opponent and not the referee.
For Marquardt, I think we'll likely see him fight the winner of next month's fight between Michael Bisping and Yoshihiro Akiyama.
In the co-main event, I don't want to declare Charles Oliveira is for real quite yet, but his performance against Efrain Escudero tells us infinitely more about him than his first fight with Darren Elkins did.
Oliveira was dominant against the overweight Escudero, drilling him repeatedly with kicks. They went to the ground in the third, when Oliveira slickly took Escudero's back and locked in the fight-ending standing rear-naked choke. It was tremendous.
Despite the win, Oliveira has much room for improvement. He was a bit wild throughout the fight and Escudero never made him pay. He also came in and looked like he didn't have much of a game plan. Luckily for him, Escudero had even less of one. Hopefully the UFC brings the 20-year old Oliveira up slowly so he has time to fully develop and mature before he is thrusted into high-profile fights.
Jim Miller impressed against Gleison Tibau. Miller was repeatedly drilling Tibau with his left hand and Tibau could not make the necessary adjustments. Tibau looked better in the third round but did nothing with the takedowns he got throughout the fight and Miller was the only one to land any significant offense.
This is Miller's fifth straight win. Hopefully we'll see him against the winner of next week's fight between Sean Sherk and Evan Dunham.
I'll give Cole Miller a lot of credit for his win against Ross Pearson. I thought Pearson was a big favorite but Miller took his shots in the first round and then drilled Pearson with a right hand out of nowhere that badly hurt Pearson before coming in with a series of shots that dropped him and then he hopped on and finished him with a rear-naked choke.
All-in-all, it was a good night of fighting. Now we turn our attention to next week's UFC 119. And on that note, how strange was it to see a via satellite interview with headliner Mirko CroCop?