"That's exactly what the UFC needs, another boring ass (expletive) wrestler!"
-- Junie Browning
Those words -- directed toward Efrain Escudero during season eight of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) -- set up a heated semifinal match up to determine one of the lightweight finalists.
Browning did his best before the match to sabotage his position, throwing drinking glasses at castmates and swinging on them to provoke reactions. It didn't work. And the All American wrestler from Pima Community College eventually "beat off" the "Lunatic" with a second round choke.
Escudero demonstrated stellar ground acumen throughout the season, choking out Ido Pariente and Shane Nelson before besting Browning. He then flew under the radar heading into TUF 8 Finale as UFC President Dana White and others compared his opponent, Phillipe Nover, to stars such as Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre.
Talk about high praise.
So when Escudero entered the Octagon last night at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, he was supposed to lose. But he didn't, relying on his strong wrestling background to frustrate the Filipino for three rounds.
"I did exactly what I wanted to do," Escudero told UFC.com after the fight. "Phillipe was going to throw that overhand right and I knew that I had to duck it. After awhile I started setting him up where he would be throwing that knee. I was just waiting for that knee to grab his leg and take him down."
Even after the "improbable" win, it still appears that Browning -- who looked much improved in his submission win over Dave Kaplan -- and Nover -- who failed to live up to the implausible expectations (could anyone?) -- are still getting all the attention even though Escudero bested them both.
The good news is that Escudero doesn't seem to care. He doesn't bitch, moan or cry for attention. He just goes about his business and wins fights with a smile on his face.
Just what the UFC needs.