Believe it or not, but it has been nearly five months since mixed martial arts fans got their fight fix on Spike TV.
Tonight (Sept. 15, 2010), the UFC Fight Night franchise returned to the network with 'Marquardt vs. Palhares," which took place from the Frank Erwin Special Events Center on the campus of The University of Texas in Austin, Texas.
Former number one contender Nate Marquardt received top billing, taking on stumpy submission stylist Rousimar Palhares in the main event of the evening.
The match up was pretty straight forward: Palhares would attack the legs and Marquardt would furiously defend them. And that's how it all went down.
Palhares saw his chance early, sitting back on a kneebar shortly after a scramble early in the first round. "The Great" slipped out of trouble, perhaps a little too easily for Palhares, who inexplicably appealed to the referee that Marquardt could be greased.
Marquardt used the opportunity, while Palhares was distracted and on his back, to drill him with a straight right. He followed it up with about 10 head bouncers, giving the referee no other choice but to step in and stop it.
Protect yourself at all times, pal.
Palhares, seemingly unhurt, got to his feet immediately and pointed to Marquardt's legs. But after further inspection, during the commercial break, the ringside doctor and referee determined that Marquardt was greaseless.
He's now one step closer to getting another crack at the 185-pound title. In fact, he's probably just one win away.
Undefeated hot prospect Charles Oliveira was out to prove his impressive winning debut for the promotion was no joke when took on fellow up-and-comer, and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 8 winner, Efrain Escudero, in an exciting lightweight tilt.
He didn't disappoint.
Oliveira seemingly took his time in the first two rounds, picking his shots carefully and attempting to takedown Escudero frequently. When his efforts were thwarted for basically 10 minutes, he reverted to his unorthodox striking game in the third and final frame.
And while he didn't necessarily hurt Escudero, it certainly helped set the stage for the eventual finish.
Coming off a break, during which Oliveira took timeout because of a low blow, Escudero attempted a takedown to avoid trading blows. He somehow spun out of the takedown and took his back, all while standing, and slipped in a choke.
Escudero appeared that he had everything covered, but he simply tapped while standing because he could not escape.
Yet another highlight reel finish for what looks to be a very lengthy career library for the Brazilian, who is just 20 years young.
Jim Miller, who has quietly strung together four straight wins and taken six out of seven inside the Octagon, needed to get past the oft-injured, but very game, Gleison Tibau to truly cement himself as a formidable force atop the crowded 155-pound division.
He did just that this evening, earning a well-deserved unanimous decision over the Brazilian.
Miller threw heavy hands, hurting Tibau on numerous occasions, which was a slight departure from his ground-and-pound gameplans of fights past. The New Jersey native also demonstrated strong wrestling and jiu-jitsu, as usual, proving that he has quickly become a more complete fighter.
With five straight wins -- and his only UFC defeat coming at the hands of number one contender Gray Maynard -- it is hard to deny Miller the opportunity to fight a top five lightweight his next time out. Clay Guida woudn't be a bad idea in the meantime if all of them are unavailable.
TUF 9 winner, Ross Pearson, was determined to keep his perfect record (3-0) inside the Octagon intact when he took a considerable step up in competition to face Cole Miller in the opening fight of the night on Spike TV.
Perhaps he wasn't ready. Not tonight, anyway.
"Real Deal" demonstrated crisp stand up in the opening frame and stuffed several takedowns, and, in the process, the submission attempts of the tricky "Magrinho." It looked to be more of the same in the second, but Miller -- out of nowhere -- clipped the British import with a flurry of punches that sent him crashing to the canvas.
He quickly jumped on Pearson's back and sunk in a fight-ending rear naked choke. It happened in the blink of an eye.
Pearson wanted nothing to do with the ground game of Miller. It was obvious. Little did he know that his seemingly significant advantage on his feet would lead to his ultimate undoing.
He wasn't alone, either. Chalk up another win for Cole "I Finish Fights" Miller.
That's a wrap. Let’s hear what you have to say, Maniacs, in the comments section below.
For complete UFC Fight Night 22 results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.