Spike TV and the Ultimate Fighting Championship know how to butter their Texas biscuits as UFC Fight Night 22 rolls into the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter: Team St-Pierre vs. Team Koscheck. Nate Marquardt and Rousimar Palhares headline the live action from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin before a new batch of lightweight hopefuls and a 170-pound coaching feud between Josh Koscheck and UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre are seen through the reality show lens. Here are our FIGHT! picks for the hump day bouts with odds courtesy of bodog. We are currently 85-46 with our picks in 2010.
Middleweights Nate Marquardt and Rousimar Palhares took an extra two weeks to prepare for their contender clash after leaving UFC 118 to headline UFC Fight Night 22. Both debuted in the Octagon with wins over Ivan Salaverry and hold victories over Jeremy Horn. A three fight-win streak for Palhares meets its toughest test in the former 185-pound title challenger, who aims to rebound off a disappointing defeat to Chael Sonnen in February.
Marquardt has displayed submission and knockout ability inside the Octagon, while Palhares has fashioned an overwhelming and destructive grappling game stifled only by Dan Henderson in five appearances. Palhares wings punches to get inside the clinch and “The Great” will be prepared to exploit the weaknesses in the Brazilian’s transitional game. The more well-rounded and experienced fighter, Marquardt will avoid submissions long enough to force Palhares into a fight-ending mistake.
FIGHT! Pick: Marquardt
With only 22 seconds of ring time, Charles Oliveira hopes his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can tangle up The Ultimate Fighter season eight winner Efrain Escudero. “Hecho en Mexico” missed weight by three pounds and forfeited 20% of his purse to the Brazilian. The draining weight cut could effect his performance and the consistent pressure required to outwrestle a quick submission artist; however, Escudero’s ability to dictate where the fight takes place will find him the ‘W’ eventually.
FIGHT! Pick: Escudero
Jim Miller faces off with another powerhouse grappler in the lightweight division when he steps in the cage against Gleison Tibau. The New Jersey native has the better boxing and wrestling, but most importantly, the cardio, to damage Tibau before the American Top Team fighter can push Miller to the edge with his jiu-jitsu.
FIGHT! Pick: Miller
American Top Team’s Cole Miller stands across from “The Ultimate Fighter” season nine winner Ross Pearson in lightweight action to kick off the night. Miller has a marked submission advantage; however, Pearson’s physicality has been the kind to trouble “Magrinho” in the past. Look for inside strikes and rough clinch work for the Brit en route to a hard-fought decision.
FIGHT! Pick: Pearson
FIGHT! Pick: MarquardtResulting Outcome: CORRECT
Efrain Escudero (-160) vs. Charles Oliveira (+130)
FIGHT! Pick: EscuderoResulting Outcome: INCORRECT
Jim Miller (-155) vs. Gleison Tibau (+125)
FIGHT! Pick: MillerResulting Outcome: CORRECT
Cole Miller (+210) vs. Ross Pearson (-270)
FIGHT! Pick: PearsonResulting Outcome: INCORRECT